Tencent acquires Japanese game studio “Wake Up” behind Nintendo Switch titles in $ 44 million deal


Chinese gaming and messaging colossus Tencent has acquired the Japanese creative studio behind several hit Nintendo Switch titles, a report said on Friday as it seeks to recover from a crackdown government against the gaming industry.

Tencent took a roughly 90 percent stake in Wake Up Interactive for more than 5 billion yen (roughly Rs. 326 crore), Bloomberg News reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the deal.

Wake Up owns Tokyo-based Soleil, which helped develop the Nintendo Switch hits Ninjala and Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, Bloomberg said.

Tencent’s lucrative gaming empire has been battered by a state regulatory crackdown that reduced the time schoolchildren are allowed to spend playing games.

Players under 12 are now no longer allowed to make in-game purchases, and under-18s are excluded from games after two hours on holidays and after one hour on school evenings.

Regulators have also slowed down approvals for releasing new games as part of a broader crackdown on tech giants.

The September purchase of Wake Up is one of several deals Tencent has made with private game makers in Japan this year, Bloomberg said.

Tencent said earlier this week that its revenue in the third quarter of this year grew 13%, the slowest pace since the company went public in 2004, according to Bloomberg.

In September, dozens of Chinese video game makers, including Tencent, pledged to better control their products for “politically harmful” content and to enforce restrictions on underage gamers.

Tencent was also told earlier this year to give up its exclusive music label rights by the market regulator, which said it violated antitrust laws.

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