BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd <0700.HK> has released a test version of a smartphone game based on U.S. hit television show Games of Thrones, in a move likely to spice up a pipeline hit by heightened government scrutiny of online gaming.
The game, titled "Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming", was developed by Chinese games maker Yoozoo, Tencent Games said in a statement on its official WeChat account late on Wednesday.
Tencent signed a deal in 2014 to obtain the exclusive rights to stream "Game of Thrones" online in China. The Emmy-winning medieval fantasy series is HBO's biggest-ever hit with some 30 million viewers in the United States and has been played 960 million times so far on Tencent's video platform.
The new game is a simulation that will let players take on identities such as the character Tyrion Lannister, visit spots like Castle Black, and experience some of the show's most memorable events like the Red Wedding, Tencent said.
Users who have obtained invite codes could start playing the game on Thursday, it said.
The release comes as industry leader Tencent is reeling from increased scrutiny of online gaming that has limited the number of new online game releases. The firm has lost over 20 percent of its market value since March.
While Chinese authorities have started to green light games this month, there has so far been no mention of Tencent's games on lists of approved titles.
"The game will inherit the realist style of the HBO show, and players will be able to control various classic characters from the original novel to battle in Westeros," Tencent Games said in the statement.
Players need to "conquer King's Landing, capture the Iron Throne, and be the biggest winner in the Game of Thrones."
(Reporting by Pei Li and Brenda Goh; Editing by Christopher Cushing)