Report: Tencent wants to bring Apex Legends to China

Report: Tencent wants to bring Apex Legends to China

The smell of battle royale success is in the air and Tencent wants to be a part of it.

According to a report from South China Morning Post, the Chinese tech and entertainment giant is in talks with Apex Legends publisher EA about bringing that game to the region.

Nothing is official yet, but speculation about such a partnership has been rife on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo.

If the deal goes through, this would be the fourth battle royale that Tencent has publishing rights to in China, having signed with PUBG Corp and Epic for Playerunknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite respectively to launch in this part of the world.

That's on top of its own battle royale, Ring of Elysium, which is made by Aurora Studio.

Tencent owns 40 per cent of Epic, and has done for many years now, and since agreeing to publish Playerunknown's Battlegrounds in China it has invested in PUBG Corp parent company Bluehole

Given the Chinese firm's desire to have as many fingers in as many pies as possible, it wouldn't be surprising to see Tencent taking a stake in EA in the near future. The firm already owns five per cent of both Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft - ironically investing in both of these companies to help them escape from French media conglomerate Vivendi.

Given how successful Apex Legends has been in its 11 days since launch, it's hardly surprising that Tencent has come knocking at EA's door. The title was a surprise release on Monday, February 4th, managing to attract one million users in just eight hours. By the end of its first day in the wild, that figure had tripled, going on to hit 10m in its first 72 hours.

By the end of its first week, 25m people had dropped into the free-to-play game.

For the sake of comparison, Apex Legends hit this milestone far faster than Fortnite.

People aren't just playing the battle royale title either; they're spending millions of hours watching Apex Legends on Twitch.

In the last three days, 19,806,033 hours of Apex Legends have been watched on the streaming platform - 3.1 times higher than Fortnite's 6,384,925 hours.

Last year saw new releases in China disrupted by governmental changes. A new body - the Online Games Ethics Committee - is in charge of approving new releases in the region, but there is a considerable backlog of content from the nine-month freeze. Big companies like NetEase and Tencent aren't being given preferential treatment, either. While China represents a huge potential audience for games, actually launching in the region is something of a pain

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.