Chinese short video giant ByteDance—via its gaming unit Nuverse—is acquiring the Shanghai-based mobile game developer Moonton, further encroaching onto Tencent’s territory.
“With their high level of quality and integrity, Moonton is the perfect partner to help expand our gaming strategy in international markets,” a spokesperson of Nuverse, which is also known as Zhaoxi Guangnian, told KrASIA. ByteDance didn’t offer financial details of the deal.
In a rebranding effort, Nuverse just debuted a new official website last month. It has published and distributed a wide range of mobile games, including fantasy-themed action role-playing titles, shooting game Strike Royale, Chinese-style Fairy Cats: Miracle Love, and the tactical competitive game Terminal Battleground.
Moonton, co-founded in 2014 by ex-Tencent employee Xu Zhenghua, now has about 750 employees, 50 of whom are based abroad, according to information posted on its website. The company developed Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, one of the most popular titles in Southeast Asia, as well as Magic Push, the best game on Google Play in 2015.
“The impact of this acquisition on Tencent is very big, as ByteDance has been eroding the latter’s user base and is stealing users’ time spent on games in the past several years,” Ming Lu, head of China Equity at Aequitas Research, told KrASIA.
As early as February 2019, ByteDance launched its first game inside its short video app Douyin. Since then, the company has been steadily expanding its gaming unit via investments and in-house development.