Mobile gaming giant Tencent has announced the acquisition of Japanese visual novel developer and publisher Visual Arts, as well as several multimedia projects.
The move comes as Visual Arts CEO Takahro Baba retires from his role. In a blog post on the company’s site, Baba wrote: “I want to run this wonderful company forever if I can. But, as expected, I am 63 years old this year. Of course, I'm in good health now, and I still want to work, but I've reached an age where anything can happen at any time. By the way, if something happens to me, even though it is a stock company, it is a private company with 100% of the shares owned by the Baba family, and there is no suitable successor, so I will not take over the company.
“There is no other way but to fold it. If that happens, not only the activities and future of the company, but also the rights to wonderful works and songs can be wiped away. No, it should be avoided at all costs.”
A wave of M&A
In order to preserve the company’s interests should something happen to him, Baba therefore transferred his shares to Tencent as part of the move, with long-time producer, director, and scenario writer Genki Tenkumo stepping into the role of CEO. Baba will remain at the company in an advisory capacity.
The acquisition is the latest in a string closed by Tencent. The company acquired Dying Light developer Techland earlier this week, and July has also seen the company take ownership of Destruction All-Stars creator Lucid Games.
These acquisitions have largely seen Tencent expanding its interests outside of its traditional mobile focus and taking advantage of multiple revenue streams. Visual Arts has previously created games for mobile devices, most recently with the release of Heaven Burns Red in 2022. The move could therefore see the company develop more titles for phones than ever before.
We listed Tencent as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022. We’ll be releasing our list for 2023 in the coming months.