Tencent backs UK’s Lockwood Publishing in £19m round

Posted on November 6, 2020 by Jonathan Symcox

Avakin Life 2

The studio behind social simulation game Avakin Life has secured £19 million funding. 

Chinese tech giant Tencent led the Series A round into Lockwood Publishing, which this summer saw its mobile game hit more than 200 million users. 

Existing investors Novator Partners, David Helgason and Hilmar Pétursson joined the round. 

“Players globally are increasingly enjoying games for both the entertainment and the socially interactive experience,” said Tencent corporate vice president Bo Wang. 

“We are delighted to partner with the talents of Lockwood and look forward to supporting their vision of delivering an engaging experience to users.” 

Avakin Life is described as a 3D world where people can meet socially. More than a million people use it every day, an audience it has grown organically since launching in 2013.

Lockwood originally developed games for the PlayStation Home virtual world, which players inhabited on the PS3. The author often played chess in a virtual square, as other people’s avatars wandered around. 

However, as revealed in a GamesBeat interview with CEO Halli Bjornsson, Lockwood had to cut staff from 60 to a dozen as the PlayStation Home platform declined. It was shut down in 2015. 

“We have always been ambitious about growing our audience and player engagement through a great experience,” Bjornsson added in a statement. 

A validation from a leader like Tencent just increases our confidence that we can reach our goals. 

“We still have a lot of work to do to provide the amazing real-world social sim that we envision.”

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