Tencent's mobile game Honor of Kings reached 100 million daily active users at its five-year anniversary gala celebrated by celebrities, sports stars and orchestras. In addition to breaking user records, the title has achieved other unprecedented successes.
For one thing, it is consistently one of the most successful mobile games worldwide and plays with PUBG Mobile, which was made by another Tencent studio, Lightspeed & Quantum. Gaming has long been the cash cow for Tencent, better known for its WeChat messenger. The brain behind Honor of Kings is TiMi Studios, which hired new employees in the US this year to help drive global expansion.
The game is recognized for popularizing the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) category in China with clever designs such as short sessions, user-friendly controls, esports integration and social networking leverage, as pointed out by game analyst Daniel Ahmad. The title has an unusually high female player base – around 50% – for a genre that is male dominated.
TiMi focused on developing a MOBA that was tailored to the expectations of mobile gamers. These included shorter session lengths, touch-friendly controls and automated systems.
The game is great for beginners to the MOBA genre, but it still requires skill to master. Broad appeal. pic.twitter.com/mSqMOKBEIc
– Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) November 1, 2020
While Tencent is not always seen as the original creator, he pioneered mobile game monetization models and may be the sought-after partner for Western studios. To name just one, it helped develop the mobile version of Activision's Call of Duty, which topped 250 million downloads in June.
Controversies have also arisen amid the fervor of kings. A state newspaper fined it for targeting young users and misrepresenting historical events. Tencent has since tightened age ratings for gamers, which has become standard in the Chinese gaming industry.
TiMi unveiled its milestone at a time when Riot Games is testing a mobile version of League of Legends, widely regarded as the desktop blockbuster that primarily inspired Honor of Kings. The overseas edition of Honor of Kings, called Arena of Valor, had limited success outside of Asia. Now is the time for Riot, which was fully acquired by Tencent in 2015, to test its own take on Wild Rift.
As part of the announcement, TiMi also announced that it is using the Honor of the Kings for IP-derived works, including two new games in unspecified new genres, an anime and a TV series.