According to a report from Reuters, Riot and Tencent, the Chinese media giant, are working together on a mobile version of the popular MOBA League of Legends. According to the report, the two companies have been in talks for years now on how to best way to create a mobile game that would both be fun to play and appealing to players. However, Riot and Tencent have disagreed on the best way to do this in the past.
Tencent, which has owned Riot since 2011, had approached Riot with an idea for a mobile League of Legends in the past, which Riot rejected. Tencent went on to make the game anyway, albeit removed from the LoL universe, releasing Honor of Kings (Arena of Valor in the US) in 2015. The game was a success in China and was later released for the European and American markets on Android and iOS in 2017 and on Nintendo Switch the year after. According to Reuters sources, this created tension between Riot and Tencent, and talks for a mobile League were stalled.
Now, sources have said that Tencent and Riot have resumed plans for the game, and have been working on it for over a year. Despite that, other sources have said that the game is unlikely to be released this year. A source from Kotaku who has insider insight into the upcoming game says, “The game is not a 1-to-1 port. The gameplay is built for mobile.”
Gu Tianyi, an analyst with Amsterdam-based Newzoo, says that the recent push from Riot to enter the mobile market is due to necessity. “League of Legends is not doing as well as it used to and so Riot badly needs a new way to monetise the game, especially considering that it is Riot’s only game,” said Tianyi to Reuters. Since mobile games tend to make more money in China, mobile games accounting for 21% more revenue in China than the US, the creation of a mobile League of Legends game serves multiple purposes. Not only will both companies make more money, but it will also allow for more international tournaments. This will give fans of the game a version to play on their platform of choice, allowing the game to grow even more.