BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd is working with its U.S. unit Riot Games to develop a mobile version of the “League of Legends”, the world’s most popular desktop-based game, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
FILE PHOTO: Logo of League of Legends (LOL) Mid-Season Invitational is to see in Taipei, Taiwan, May 18, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
The relationship between Tencent and Riots have long been tense over how best to take advantage of the game, in which players hack and slash their way through the battle arenas. Riot rejected Tencent proposal years ago to develop a mobile version, one of the sources said.
Tencent then developed a similar range, “the Honor of Kings”, which was launched in November 2015 and has grown to become the world’s most successful multiplayer online battle arena game, although most of the revenue collected in China.
But this created tensions with the Riot, which were further inflamed when Tencent launched a adaptation of the “Honor of Kings”, the so-called “Arena of Valor” for the overseas markets in 2016 and 2017, the sources said. “Arena of Valor,” is considered a flop by some analysts after it does not click with the Western gamers.
One of the sources said Tencent and Riot have been working on a mobile version of the “League of Legends” for more than a year, although another source said it was unlikely to be launched in 2019.
The sources declined to be identified as the details of the project were confidential. A spokesman for Tencent declined to comment. Representatives for Riot not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Although all three titles have similar gameplay and design, albeit with different characters, “League of Legends” has the largest range, and almost 10 years old, has the longest history.
“League of Legends is, like the World Cup whereas the Honour of the king is just the Asia Cup,” says one of the sources said.
A mobile version would likely bring in more Asian players, who tend to prefer mobile-games while Western gamers tend to prefer pc’s or consoles for a more refined gameplay. It would also allow Tencent to organize more international competition between battle arena gaming enthusiasts.
League of Legends brought in $1.4 billion in sales last year, but that was a decline of 21 percent compared to a year earlier, according to data provider Statista.
It is the most popular core PC game worldwide ranked on the basis of the number of unique users per month, according to the game tracker Newzoo. The world cup Final was 2018 the largest e-sports tournament live hours watched on Twitch and YouTube Gaming, with 81.1 million hours viewed.
Reporting by Pei Li and Brenda Goh; Editing by Edwina Gibbs