Dancers perform underneath a Tencent logo in Beijing, China. Picture: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Dancers perform underneath a Tencent logo in Beijing, China. Picture: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Tencent, 31%-owned by SA internet company Naspers, will soon release a test version of a Game of Thrones game for smartphones, after winning exclusive Chinese rights to distribute the title based on the popular TV series. 

China’s largest social and media gaming company will be the sole distributor for Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming, developed by Yoozoo, Tencent said on its official WeChat account. It didn’t specify a launch date but said it would dovetail with the show’s final season airing from April.

The game will help jazz up a Tencent pipeline that suffered after Beijing clamped down on game approvals for months, aiming to weed out violence and other undesirable content. The HBO series, based on George RR Martin’s series of books, drew a record 12.1-million viewers for the previous season’s finale. Tencent said its upcoming mobile title is a simulation that will let players assume identities such as that of Tyrion Lannister, relive key moments like the infamous Red Wedding and visit well-known locales.

“When the eighth and last season returns in April, it will definitely cause a sensation and much discussion,” Tencent said. “By releasing the game at this time, the TV series will help attract more players.”

Yoozoo, the developer, was founded in 2009 and helps convert films into games. Tencent needs a boost after a grim year when China froze gaming approvals, curbing its ability to monetise two of its most popular games, including Fortnite. Beijing in December resumed approvals but the backlog has accumulated to hundreds of titles.

Bloomberg, with Staff Writer