Tencent’s Penguin Esports streaming service shut down after China blocked the merger

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Chinese tech giant Tencent is set to shut down its game-streaming platform less than a year after authorities blocked a merger that would have spurred its push to acquire Amazon’s Twitch.

Beijing has tightened its scrutiny over Big Tech and launched a sweeping crackdown on some of the biggest names in the industry, while the games market has also taken a hit due to tighter controls on underage playtime.

Tencent’s service, Penguin Esports, has halted new user registration and in-app purchases, and will shut down all services on June 7, the company said in a statement Thursday.

The decision comes after China’s financial regulator blocked a merger of the country’s two largest live-streaming video game sites in July over antitrust concerns.

The proposed merger of live streaming services Huya and Douyu could have taken the combined platforms’ market share domestically to as much as 90 percent – and Penguin Esports was to be moved under the combined entity.

The merger would also have given Tencent majority control of the merged company, with the transaction valued at around US$6 billion (around Rs.45,535 billion).

Tencent said its move was “due to changes in business development strategy,” adding that it would compensate users with coupons in other games.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, Tencent’s domestic gaming revenue grew by 1 percent.

The total time that minors spend playing games has also fallen by 88 percent year-on-year, the company said.

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