Tencent just added an important piece to its gaming flywheel by leading the $100 million Series B funding round of Versus Programming Network (VSPN). The funding round also saw investments by Tiantu Capital, SIG, and Kuaishou (of which Tencent invested $2 billion back in December 2019). VSPN is a leading esports solutions provider in Asia with 70% market share of premium esports events in China (such as KPL, PCL, PEL), organizing and broadcasting China’s most popular esport tournaments including: PUBG Mobile, Honor of Kings, Peacekeeper Elite, CrossFire, FIFA Online, QQ Speed, and Clash Royale.
While VSPN is already a world class esports organizer, they will now move into the streaming space with this new funding. Dino Ying, VSPN CEO, said that the company will focus to expand the reach of esports, “We will make more in-depth collaborations between esports athletes, influencers and events”. According to Dino, streaming is the most developed segment within esports and VSPN will have larger investments into this area. Such a strategy will see VSPN have close collaborations with its new investor, Kuaishou, and probably also Tencent’s newly merged Douyu-Huya entity.
Thus the “Tencent Esports Ecosystem” is mostly complete. VSPN’s advantages in the production and operation of event hosting make up for the deficiencies in Tencent’s esports value chain, and finally enable it to achieve a commercial closed loop. Tencent’s top grossing games — both present and future (like Honor of Kings, PUBG, Peackeeper Elite, etc.) — will have around-the-clock top quality content both online (Douyu, Huya, Kuaishou, VSPN) and offline (VSPN) to drive long term user acquisition, engagement, and monetization.