Update April 18, 2017: Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad got in touch today to clarify some points in this article, pointing out that Tencent weren’t looking to compete with Steam on a global scale.
Tencent’s efforts with game platform WeGame will still be focused on China. The fact that it rivals Steam is a purely numbers thing, since it already boasts more users than Steam already. It’ll just be open to global users should they wish to take advantage of it.
More options when buying stuff from our upcoming PC games list can only be better, right?
WeGame’s revamped storefront and unified branding will only cement its position as an industry leader in China.
Original Story April 17, 2017: Chinese owners of Riot Games, Tencent, are going global with a rebranded digital distribution platform, now called WeGame. It could well be Steam’s biggest competitor.
Previously, WeGame was called the Tencent Games Platform. It already has 200 million users in China alone. For comparison, Steam had 125 million active users worldwide, as of 2015.
Tencent not only own Riot Games, but they have a stake in Blizzard, Activision, SuperCell, Epic Games, and more. In other words, they’re massive.
Looks like Tencent will rebrand its 'Tencent Games Platform' to 'WeGame'.
It's basically Tencent's version of Steam. pic.twitter.com/Rx7ndSXJVM
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) April 16, 2017
This information comes via Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, who also noted that it will be one storefront that supports localisation, as well as communication between developers and players.
“Tencent Games Platform entered the market later than Steam but has had a head-start with the games and services it provides on the platform,” explains Ahmad. “Chinese gamers have access to popular F2P games such as League of Legends and FIFA Online 3 through the platform. Tencent last year started to transform TGP in order to compete against Steam.
“The service now supports paid standalone game titles and well as VR and AR games. Tencent bought a few paid standalone games to the platform in 2016 and plan to release 100 new paid games, primarily from Western developers, on the platform in 2017. Don’t Starve launched on the platform this year and sold one million copies in China within a month. Other games like Stardew Valley and Cities Skylines have also been popular on the platform in China. On April 20, Tencent will hold its UP conference where it will give more details of how it is continuing to transform the platform.”
For developers, it’s an opportunity to reach a massive embedded audience, and it also allows them a way to skip Steam Greenlight.