Tencent is getting ready to launch the international version of its digital video game store and social platform WeGame in Hong Kong, according to the South China Morning Post. The technology company wants to expand the market for China-developed PC games and, in doing so, will compete with western digital games giant Steam.
Originally called Tencent Games Platform, WeGame launched in 2017 as a Chinese-language site for video game livestreaming, social networking, and downloading PC titles. It currently has about 220 titles, according to SCMP, but it will add dozens more in coming months, including “Monster Hunter: World” and “Fortnite.”
The international expansion could help Tencent speed up new releases by bypassing China’s strict censorship rules. Chinese publishers must submit games for review to authorities before they’re sold in the domestic market, SCMP said. That process can take months, and games with the faintest whiff of violence or sexual content are typically rejected.
Tencent is one of the largest companies in the world. It is the parent company of “Fortnite” developer Epic Games, “League of Legends” developer Riot Games, mobile game studio Supercell, and more. Its first quarter net profits increased 65% year-on-year back in March to reach $3.82 billion. Its games revenues were up 26%.
Tencent’s WeGame expansion is likely a response to Valve’s recent decision to team up with developer Perfect World and launch a Chinese version of Steam. Steam is the largest PC gaming platform worldwide, with more than 20,000 titles and 43 million daily active users. China is currently the number one gaming market, accounting for more than one-quarter of all global game revenues this year, according to market intelligence company Newzoo.
Tencent and Valve have not announced launch dates for WeGame Hong Kong or Steam China.