Riot Games buys ‘Minecraft’ mod maker Hypixel Studios

Riot Games recently confirmed that it had acquired Hypixel Studios for an undisclosed sum. The studio is widely known for developing mods and running servers for the popular video game Minecraft.

Riot Games, a unit of the Chinese tech giant Tencent, is also an early backer of Hypixel Studios. Though the actual sum paid by the company to acquire the studio was not confirmed, many in the community have noted that it could be a substantial amount.

Hypixel Studios have been in the industry for quite some time already. However, the studio has yet to release an official game. Something that has left many analyst to be uncertain why Riot Games acquired the studio.

A challenge to Minecraft

Despite having no single title under its belt, Hypixel Studios has built its reputation as one of the foremost mod maker for the popular game Minecraft. The studio is also responsible for running and maintaining some Minecraft servers.

Minecraft is a hugely popular game, and it has started to penetrate the Chinese video game market. Mojang, the original developer of Minecraft, is owned by Microsoft and they have partnered with Chinese developer and publisher NetEase.

It is important to note here that Tencent, the owner of Riot Games, is one of the closest competitor of NetEase. Considering these latest developments, some analysts have noted that Tencent is acquiring assets to challenge Minecraft’s dominance in China.

NetEase and Mojang are already operating Minecraft servers in China. The game has been a huge success in the country, and it is virtually enjoying a monopoly with no apparent competition.

Hytale, Riot Games’ answer to Minecraft

Not much is known about Hypixel Studios flagship game, Hytale. The studio has kept it well under the radar. What is known about the game has been through leaks, rumors, and official statements from Tencent and the studio.

In recently released press statement, Tencent claims that more than 2.5 million people have signed up for the beta release of Hytale. The game is scheduled to be launched sometime in 2021.

Development of Hytale started way back in 2015. Hypixel Studios financed the development through earnings from its Minecraft mod servers. Now that Riot Games has stepped in as a major investor, the studio now has all the resources it needs to finish the game.

Hytale slated as a direct competitor to Minecraft. As such, the game is expected to feature an open-world mode with Minecraft mechanics like crafting, combat, and construction. Just like its rival, Hytale will also feature 8-bit block art style.

Image courtesy of amrothman/Pixabay

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