Tencent acquires majority stake in Don't Starve developer Klei

Chinese giant Tencent continues to rack up game developers, acquiring a majority stake in Klei Entertainment, the team behind Don't Starve, Mark of the Ninja, and Griftlands.


Over the last decade, Klei Entertainment has put together some of the most memorable indie titles in gaming. They're the team behind Don't Starve (and its various offshoots like Don't Starve Together), Mark of the Ninja, and Oxygen Not Included. They're also working on Griftlands, which is currently in early access. While they've mainly worked independently, the course of the company is undergoing a seismic shift with Friday's news that Chinese monolith Tencent has acquired a majority stake in Klei.

Don't Starve Together

The news comes through the Klei forums (first spotted by Shacknews' Chatty community) with company founder Jaime Cheng announcing the acquisition personally. Here's some of what he had to say about the deal:

Klei has been around for 15 years, and we have made many changes over the years in order to respond to a changing world. Consistently, my wish has been to enable people to do their best creative work, to learn and grow, to not have to worry about finances, and be able to enjoy their lives outside the studio. This has not changed.

This partnership helps us navigate a changing industry, and helps us focus on what we do best: making unique experiences that no one else can.


We looked at a lot of different companies, and over the years, we've worked with a large number of publishers and distributors. Tencent is the only company that we felt would let us retain the level of control that we demand.

We've been working with Tencent for years and even at points where we disagreed, they were always willing to work with us to find the best solution for everybody involved and defer to us when we felt strongly.

Cheng notes that Klei had previously worked with Tencent in order to bring Don't Starve Together to China back in 2016 and that the two parties have maintained a relationship ever since. While Cheng notes that day-to-day business will not be affected, this deal could likely mean that more of Klei's titles will release in China across different platforms.

One game that could wind up in China could be the upcoming Griftlands. This is Klei's deck-building roguelike that sees players explore a sci-fi space, engage with unsavory characters, make critical decisions, and do battle with various cards. It's currently in Steam Early Access, but is set to go 1.0 this summer, at which point it will also release on Nintendo Switch.

Tencent has its hands in several gaming properties. Most notably, they have stakes in Riot Games (League of Legends), Epic Games (Fortnite), Grinding Gear Games (Path of Exile), and more. As evidenced by their recent acquisition of GTFO developer 10 Chambers, they still appear to be on the market for indie developers. Shacknews will follow Tencent's endeavors, as well as what happens next with Klei, and will report back with the latest.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 22, 2021 1:45 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Tencent acquires majority stake in Don't Starve developer Klei

    • reply
      January 22, 2021 2:02 PM


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      January 22, 2021 2:03 PM

      I mean is this a good thing? From my understanding Tencent is a Chinse company that has a lot of government officials on its board, and they used money brought in through Taxes to fund this business from there citizens. Having a communist, authoritative country control so much IP can't be good in the long run, Or am I completely misinformed.

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        January 22, 2021 3:30 PM

        For all purpoes it should be good. Tencent has acquired a majority stake in numerous companies and we have yet to see them go to crap; instead, the Tencent investment gives the company the inroads into China that they need. Tencent has not seemed to want to pull controlling strings on these companies.

        But the critical word is "yet". We all keep in mind that Google once ran on "don't do evil". Tencent could turn on a dime and we'd not have a warning signal to that.

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          January 22, 2021 4:04 PM

          Yeah, any one company owning too many beloved dev sounds like a bad thing to me. Doubly so for tencent. Only of matter of time before they go all EA and fuck everything up.

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      January 22, 2021 4:06 PM

      Guess they sold the company so they wouldn't starve.

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        January 22, 2021 4:07 PM

        this is a slow clap situation for sure

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