Tencent is eyeing up some of Nintendo’s core intellectual properties (IPs), and characters. Speaking to Wall Street Journal a member of Tencent apparently said that they want to “Create console games with Nintendo characters”, which seems harmless, but was followed by them stating they want to “learn the essence of making console games from Nintendo engineers”. And even more concerning, was the source saying:
“Nintendo games are not constructed to make people pay a lot of money”
That seems to be Tencent’s reason for not porting Nintendo games to China.
Nintendo generally defends their IPs and brand but have recently been expanding their portfolio by teaming up with the likes of Ubisoft for the excellent Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Nintendo also published several games on the Nvidia Shield in China.
What really pinches here is the idea that Tencent wants to learn directly from Nintendo, their secret formula has seen them become one of the titans of gaming. But if they give up too much to Tencent then their corporate image could be damaged heavily, which is still recovering a little from missing the mark with the Mario Kart Tour pass.
Tencent, if you are unfamiliar are by revenue the largest video game company in the world. They have a heavy interest in pretty much anything that involves technology or the internet, with a huge portfolio of subsidiaries. They specialize in the Chinese market, which is dominated by smartphones and PCs for gaming. They developed the incredibly popular Call of Duty: Mobile. And that could obviously really appeal to Nintendo, in fact, they tried to team up to bring the Nintendo Switch to the Chinese market, but they have been hit with huge amounts of regulatory hurdles. Nintendo is facing a difficult position of adapting and changing or keeping their brand identity.
The Tencent source also said that they “expand from China”, which will probably put Nintendo on the defensive slightly, with Tencent basically asking for Nintendo’s IPs and formulas. But if they work tightly together, we could expect to see some really interesting smartphone games.
I’ve worked in the gaming industry for around 10 years, in journalism and QA. I also run Hampshire’s biggest charity gaming event, the Southampton Game Fest.