Chinese tech behemoth Tencent has acquired a minority stake in Playtonic Games and its Playtonic Friends publishing arm. Playtonic retains “full creative control” of its IP and will use the funds from the sale to “scale from their current one team structure to multiple teams, with an emphasis on hiring diverse talent from near and afar, improving their HQ, as well as looking to expand in new locations.” It sounds like nothing but good news for both Playtonic and Tencent, who are mutually benefiting.
Playtonic Games is known for 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee and its sidescrolling 2.5D pseudo-sequel, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. However, its indie game publishing arm Playtonic Friends has become known for a variety of new and upcoming titles from different developers already, including games like Demon Turf, Lil Gator Game, and Blossom Tales 2: The Minotaur Prince. Here is what Playtonic founder Gavin Price and head of publishing Danny Spiteri have to say about Tencent acquiring a minority stake in the company:
Gavin Price, Founder of Playtonic, commented:
“Six years ago we built a cool, exciting rocket ship, set a course we think is right and exciting. We are thrilled that Tencent agrees with that course and has provided some rocket fuel to further the reach of our mission!
“The countdown to today has included (deep inhale)… our record breaking Kickstarter for Yooka-Laylee, growing the buddy-duo’s reach with the acclaimed Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, establishing Playtonic Friends and the successful launch of its first three titles – BPM: Bullets Per Minute, A Little Golf Journey and Demon Turf, signing 3 further incredible beauties in L’il gator Game, Victory Heat Rally & Blossom Tales 2 – The Minotaur Prince, and all the while still being cool (ask our parents)! BUT with Tencent’s help we can scale up and fast-track the super-exciting, super-secret projects we’ve been keeping close to our treasure chests too… things are going to get Bat Ship Crazy over the next few years! Please imagine a wink emoji right now.”
The studio has already taken the first step on its ongoing journey with the hiring of Danny Spiteri, formerly of Raw Fury and Team 17, as Head of Publishing.
Danny coming in allows the Playtonic Friends-ship to be steadied and captained to new ports, freeing up deck swabs like Studio Head Gavin Price and Exec Producer Andy Wilson to spend more time on the development side of things.
With more people and improved processes in place the teams will be well placed to forge deeper links with their network of “friends” studios and ultimately look to develop and release new, exciting and playful IPs.
Danny Spiteri, Head of Publishing at Playtonic, added:
“It’s been less than a year since Playtonic Friends was unveiled but, it’s fair to say, it’s made quite an impression in a relatively short space of time. The array of titles that’s already been published is quite something and I’m excited to see how I can add wind to the sails to help us build on the momentum we’ve already amassed to power us into 2022.”
This initiative has seen the successful launches of BPM: Bullets Per Minute on Xbox and PlayStation consoles, narrative puzzler A Little Golf Journey for PC and Switch and the critically acclaimed Demon Turf launching on six formats, including dedicated “next gen” versions.
The internal development teams remain super busy and look forward to sharing more on all projects including ‘T…[fax paper ran out, sorry!]
As we have noted before, Tencent has a finger in myriad different pies, having invested in PlatinumGames, for example, last year. It is not the only Chinese tech giant making purchases though, as NetEase recently purchased Suda51’s Grasshopper Manufacture.