Sony And Tencent Have Bought Up Over 30% Of Elden Ring Developer FromSoftware
One of the biggest PC games to come out this year—if not the biggest—is FromSoftware's Elden Ring. Released in February, the sprawling fantasy epic sold over 12 million copies in its first 18 days and became the developer's most successful title to date. Apparently, Sony and Tencent want a piece of that pie, as they've just collectively invested about $260 million USD into the company.
Technically, it's not Tencent who's doing the purchasing directly, but rather a wholly owned subsidiary known as Sixjoy Hong Kong Limited. Sixjoy purchased 1,703 shares while Sony Interactive Entertainment purchased 1,476 shares, both at a price of 11,450,000 JPY per share, or about $81,712 each. FromSoftware's parent company, Japanese media mega-conglomerate Kadokawa, still holds a dominant controlling stake in the game developer, with 69.66% of the company's shares in hand.
Neither of the investments are particularly surprising to anyone that's been following these companies. Tencent, through Tencent Japan, has had an ongoing relationship with Kadokawa. Tencent invested $264m USD into the publisher back in October of last year, and that's mostly as part of an attempt to promote Kadokawa's anime and games in China.
Meanwhile, the legacy of Sony and FromSoftware goes back rather far. FromSoftware has been publishing its products primarily on PlayStation platforms for a very long time, starting with the release of King's Field in 1994. In fact, it was only relatively recently—since the success of Dark Souls on the Xbox 360 and PC in the early 2010s—that the company has started to consistently bring its most popular games elsewhere.
The stated ambition of the move is to "strengthen FromSoftware’s capabilities to create and develop game IP." There's also a mention in the press release [PDF] about "establishing a framework that allows expansion of the scope of FromSoftware's own publishing in the global market." FromSoftware has acted as a publisher in Japan in the past, but traditionally has partnered with larger publishing houses for its own titles, particularly overseas. It may be that the company wants to expand its publishing operations, or even self-publish its own games in the future.