Tencent to invest $15 million in Fortnite esports in China

From an alleged cheating scandal to poor a spectating experience, Fortnite's Summer Skirmish has been a work-in-progress. Provided by Epic Games

Tencent has acquired exclusive distribution rights to popular battle royale game Fortnite and will invest a total of 100 million Chinese yuan ($15.75 million) on esports, marketing and infrastructure in China, the company announced at its UP2018 Conference in Beijing on Monday.

The deal comes as Tencent continues to expand its game holdings in the battle royale genre. In March, Tencent and South Korea-based studio Bluehole partnered to distribute PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Fortnite's largest competitor, into the Chinese game market. Tencent currently has distribution rights to a number of esports titles in the region, including League of Legends, Smite and Arena of Valor.

Tencent and Epic Games opened registration on Monday for Chinese users to begin signing up for accounts to play the game ahead of its release. 45 million people have played Fortnite, Epic Games announced in January. According to a March report by analytics company Newzoo, about 30.1 percent of PC gamers play battle royale games, 16.3 percent of whom play Fortnite.

Tencent is a 48.4 percent owner of Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite. They also have ownership stakes in Riot Games (100 percent), Activision-Blizzard (5 percent) and Ubisoft (5 percent), each who operate titles in esports such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Hearthstone and more.

Tecncent is a media partner of ESPN.