By the end of this year, China’s internet powerhouse Tencent will release a worldwide edition of Honor of Kings, the world’s most popular smartphone game.
One of the game’s publishers, level infinite, tweeted about the news, citing TiMi Company’s famous games production studio that debuted Honor of Kings in 2015.
Level Infinite, Tencent’s publishing arm based in Singapore and Amsterdam, was established in 2021 to assist the company distribute video games throughout the globe.
Second foreign effort to replicate the popularity of Honor of Kings in China, where users from early teenagers to white-collar employees fought their peers in short sessions and spend lavishly on weapons and outfits. Many have compared the gameplay to that of League of Legends, which was created by Riot Games, which is currently owned by Tencent.
This made Honor of Kings the highest-grossing mobile game on Google Play and Apple’s App Store as of 2021, according to market analytics firm Sensor Tower.
The title generated $2 billion in revenue from January to August of last year alone, due in part to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns that restricted consumers to home entertainment. Brawl Stars, which came in second with $320 million in user spending, was overwhelmed by its size.
The popularity of a game at home does not always transfer to success abroad. Arena of Valor was introduced in 2017 as a Westernized version of Honor of Kings, but it failed to gain traction outside of Asia. When it comes to user expenditure outside China, the United States only contributed for 3.5% of the game’s total user spending in 2019, or $7 million, according to Sensor Tower.
Reuters stated in 2019 that Arena of Valor’s failings in Europe and the US were caused by mistakes in “development and marketing” and a deteriorating relationship between Tencent and Riot Games.
Arena of Valor was criticized for failing to grasp Western user behavior and culture, even putting internal management difficulties aside. For example, although Honor of Kings’ connection with Tencent’s omnipresent messenger WeChat helps the game greatly in China, the identical networking counterpart does not exist in Western countries.
Tencent looks to be preparing for a second attempt with this revamped version of Honor of Kings. Due to the fact that both Arena of Valor and TiMi are responsible for the games, it should come as no surprise that this one is based on Arena of Valor. Even if China’s increasing crackdown on internet and video game monopolies is hurting Tencent, the company is still optimistic about the future of its business.
Tencent still has the same difficulty as before when it comes to foreign expansion: will the game be able to overcome managerial and cultural differences?
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