There is finally an alternative to Steam coming soon. And it’s called Tencent (and becoming WeGame).
Tencent already exists in China, and if you didn’t know, it is massive.
The news broke through Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, who observed that one of the slides on the Tencent Splash page. He said that it translated to say that WeGame (the new brand refresh version of Tencent) will “support both Chinese and global users”.
You can see the tweet trail here which is very interesting for gamers and clearly indicates that there is an alternative to Steam coming, and in a big way. We would recommend following Ahmed because his insights are pretty cool.
Looks like Tencent will rebrand its ‘Tencent Games Platform’ to ‘WeGame’.
It’s basically Tencent’s version of Steam. pic.twitter.com/Rx7ndSXJVM
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) April 16, 2017
So, what does this alternative to Steam really mean for gamers and why?
Tencent owns Riot Games (League of Legends) and Supercell (Clash of Titans) so it already has some huge titles that it could exclusively list on the WeGame platform. This gives users and players of those games a reason to take the platform up right away. It also has a small ownership in Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, Glu Mobile and makers of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Impressive, apart from The Kardashians stuff. Ew.
Newzoo believe that Tencent currently own 13% of the $99.6B World Gaming Market, which is ridiculous, and makes them a power player.
If they launch WeGame globally this could increase their standing in the market dramatically. They could boost and control the price of their own games and others on the platform plus making a tidy profit of every sale on the platform and their competitors too.
Being a competitor to game producers (because they also own game brands) might mean that major brands may not want to have their game present on the platform. The question will be whether those other game brands can afford not to. It becomes a slightly complex arrangement which may require Tencent distancing the connection between the brands they own and the WeGame platform.
Now, to the part where an alternative to Steam is good for gamers.
Competition is always good in markets, and Steam has had the run of the place for waaaay too long, frustratingly long. It was a much loved system that revolutionised the way we purchase, but if a brand controls the market they can charge what they like. With WeGame, this will change, and with it being the power player it is, you can expect prices to get more competitive and cheaper for gamers. Hell, WeGame could even offer the titles they own for free in a bid to get users on the platform globally.
This competition will also mean that user friendliness of the platform will improve, because if WeGame have their act together which 200 million Chinese players will say that they do, then it could be easier and more incentivised to buy games on that platform.
An alternative for Steam is a fascinating development for the gaming industry, and you can expect a few others to follow their leads as well.