Tencent's hit game ramps up bid to win overseas market

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-09-23 14:05

BEIJING - A megahit mobile game developed by Chinese internet giant Tencent has made fresh inroads into the overseas market.

"Arena of Valor" (AOV), the overseas version of Tencent's top-grossing game "Honor of Kings", will be launched this winter on Switch, a popular gaming console developed by Japanese company Nintendo.

"The launch of AOV on a mainstream global console is a milestone for the development of the Chinese gaming industry," Tencent Games said in a written reply to Xinhua's interview request.

Released in March, Switch is Nintendo's fastest-selling console, with North America accounting for nearly 40 percent of its global sales.

Honor of Kings was the world's top mobile game in monthly active users in August, according to app market data provider App Annie.

AOV, an English version of Honor of Kings with some adaptation, has already been launched in China's Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and the Republic of Korea and has been warmly received. Releases in Europe and the United States are slated for the second half of this year.

Stepping into the console market, which is the dominant gaming platform in Europe and the United States, is expected to accelerate the game's overseas expansion.

While mobile gaming is on the rise, consoles will still account for nearly 30 percent of the gaming market by 2020, according to industry data provider Newzoo.

"We hope to connect with the global market and bring successful Chinese-developed games to players worldwide," according to Tencent Games.

Compared with the original Chinese version, AOV has seen the introduction of some iconic western heroes, including Batman, while retaining some of the most popular Chinese heroes such as Monkey King and the invincible warlord Lyu Bu from the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-280).

The interface and map of the game have also been altered to cater for the habits of international gamers.

A community of foreign fans is taking shape. Kerem Durdu from Turkey said he has made friends with gamers from Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States through playing AOV.

"Gaming is a universal language," he said.

AOV is at the forefront of China's booming mobile game industry, which pocketed 82 billion yuan ($12 billion) in 2016, up 59.2 percent year-on-year, according to China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.

China was the largest gaming market in the world in 2016, generating $24.6 billion of operating revenue, figures from London-based venture capital company Atomico showed.

With the weight of Chinese gamers increasing, Tencent's appetite for overseas acquisitions is also growing.

Tencent is the key shareholder of Riot Games, Supercell and Miniclip, all foreign game makers. In July, it announced a deal to buy a 9 percent stake in the UK game developer Frontier Developments.

The UK firm said the move would help expand its scale and improve its access to the Chinese market.

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