Picture: BLOOMBERG/QILAI SHEN
Picture: BLOOMBERG/QILAI SHEN

Hong Kong — Tencent has taken another hit to its gaming business after regulators told the social media company to remove Monster Hunter: World from its PC downloads service just days after the action title’s debut.

Parts of the Capcom hit failed to meet regulatory standards and the relevant authorities received complaints, which in turn spurred the government to revoke an operating licence, Tencent said in a statement without elaborating.

Tencent shares fell 2.4% on Monday, while Capcom’s stock slumped almost 10%.

It is the latest blow to Tencent’s gaming operation, which has faced a series of hiccups. The company has not won the necessary approval to begin generating money from its marquee mobile game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and has yet to receive the green light for introducing the desktop version to China. That has hobbled revenue growth at the internet company and contributed to a 15% slide in its stock since June.

"Tencent used to be a world-class gaming and social media company, but has transformed into a massive multisector VC operation with important gaming and social media sidelines," said Brock Silvers, MD of Kaiyuan Capital, a China-based advisory.

"The recent fumbling of core gaming operations is a worrying trend, and investors can reasonably begin to ask if constant investment and competition with Alibaba are causing Tencent to lose focus," Silvers said.

While Tencent’s run into issues with the industry’s overseers in the past — notably when state media rounded on its inhouse-developed Honour of Kings for allegedly encouraging addiction — it is unusual for the internet firm to encounter multiple obstacles at once.

The Radii blog first reported on the game’s suspension. Japanese studio Capcom’s title has sold more than 8 million copies globally. The series, where players hunt the titular beasts, has been popular in Japan for more than a decade.

With the new title, Capcom redesigned many elements tailored for Western audiences, such as including more online play and letting players move freely through the game.

SA internet and media company Naspers owns about 31% of Tencent.

Bloomberg with Staff Writer