Tencent buys a huge stake in Epic, and numerous staffers leave
Jeremy Peel at PCGamesN published a great story in January 2018 about the internal strife that dogged Epic during its first post- Gears years. Essentially, shortly after Fortnite’s announcement, Epic realized that the traditional business model of shipping a new game every two or three years was becoming untenable. Epic looked at the ridiculous success of Leagueof Legends, and wanted something equally self-sustaining. So it partnered with Tencent, the Chinese multimedia conglomerate, who purchased a 40 percent stake. The goal was to make Fortnite Epic’s first games-as-a-service initiative, a product that would generate cash long after release.
The terms of the Tencent purchase were first reported in early 2013, and while this has never been confirmed explicitly, it seems likely that the deal lead to a number of high-profile exits from Epic. Cliff Bleszinski was the first, and went on to found BossKey Productions, (who shipped great but doomed arena shooter LawBreakers last year.) He was followed by former president Mike Capps, who said he was retiring from the industry altogether. We’ll probably never know what exactly happened in the interim years, but, well, from the outside it didn’t seem particularly happy.