A man tried a game called Honor of Kings
Shanghai, mid-September, as we walk down the street, a Vape Bar attracts our attention.
This unique concept bar, owned by a group of young rich Chinese, astonished my fellows and me. Inside we found a clan of chillers playing on their phones, 5 of them sitting around a table. They talk hastily to each other and one of them seems to give out calls. A huge wide screen is hanging over the bar broadcasting their game play. They are playing a game, which almost looks like League of Legends. ‘This is Honor of Kings’ said PuJiaJun (浦佳骏). The game has been captivating Chinese Youth recently. Our new friends had even organized a gaming competition for that evening, with a sizable cash prize as first prize. They invited us to come and we accepted.Submitted to Tencent’s regulations
Later, as I tried the game I receive a message stating that I had to take a 20 minutes’ break.
Tencent regulates gaming time according to your account information. Every user is required to log in through WeChat or QQ. That way all your data is immediately compiled and verified. Due to the tremendous amount of players under 18, the Giant rations game time as many facts and rumours swirl about the prevalence and severity of video games addiction. What’s all the hype about it?
Communication is key, as Tencent know perfectly well. On its release date (November 26, 2015), the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) went viral instantly connecting all players via WeChat and QQ. Almost as quickly, all over Chinese social media claims that the game was dangerously addictive began to appear. Among the 80 million daily users of the game more than a quarter are teenagers, according to Jiguan report. This study also states that 54% of players are female which is 20% more than usual in a fighting game. Nowadays HoK matches 200m monthly users for a 1v1, 1v3 or 5v5 game.
Parenting also plays an important role, as some of the parents choose to forbid access to Honor of Kings (HoK), others don’t want their children to be left apart from the social circle. In China, it’s perfectly normal to play in the subway, at the restaurant or at the bar. Losing face to others is unacceptable, even in a game you have to be a winner to be appreciated by your peers at university or work.How HoK became the most profitable mobile game ever ?
Based on League of Legends (LOL) success, Tencent dedicated HoK to Chinese mainland players by adding iconic Chinese characters along with a traditional historical lore embellished with fantastic stories. Riot, held by Tencent, developed LOL and set up MOBA game as the most played ever. Furthermore, LOL is now famous for its gigantic events with gigantic cash prizes. Tencent accumulated its LOL experience to deliver the perfect game to Chinese players. All the game’s features are dedicated to mobile gaming, a quick and entertaining game easily shareable with one’s social circle.
On average a game lasts 15 minutes which is suitable to play on the crowded subway, between lessons at school and during a break at work. In-game features are inspired by LOL’s ones. Players are offered the possibility to buy champions, skins, runes, packs or level up their game account. The best players are pinned on the main screen based on their rank and championship matchmaking, live streaming of events and spectating games keep the player on the app. The game is free-to-play; thus only purchasable items will grant the best items. The massive amount of players explains how HoK generated $828 million revenue from January to March 2017. App Annie, an app performance tracking firm crowned Honor of Kings as the biggest revenue generator on smartphone games. Tencent Mobile Gaming Leadership
Honor of Kings adapted its name and in-game features to coveted regions. Tencent analyzed each region as a niche market depending on its culture. By clutching to players needs and requirements they seduced the Asian market influenced by Chinese unique gaming industry.
Tencent now holds League of Legends and Honor of Kings, pushing them even away ahead of their competition in the mobile gaming industry.
Earlier this month, Nintendo announced a partnership with Tencent to allow cross-platform gaming by bringing the top grossing game to the new trendy console Nintendo Switch.
Mobile gaming is on the go; China is definitely looking forward to developing such influential games in the future, with all its economic, historical and digital benefits.