First of all, everyone should know that Tencent acquired Riot in 2015. Later, it launched the highly similar LOL mobile version of “王者荣耀”. This game was once one of the world’s highest-grossing mobile games in China mobile game market, with 2018 revenue of 2.25 billion US dollars.
To develop blue ocean markets of mobile MOBA gaming in Europe and the United States where the PC MOBA-type gameplay started relatively early and well-developed, Tencent has been planning to release the overseas version of “王者荣耀” , which also known as “Arena of Valor”.
However, the performance of AoV in the U.S. failed Tencent’s expectations. It didn’t get to the height that it had achieved in China. The revenue of AoV in the first quarter was less than 2 million US dollars. On the other side, its competitor “Mobile Legneds” , which is also developed by a Chinese game company, Mooton, has been overtaking the 1st place in gross revenue ranking among MOBA mobile games in the U.S. market since January 2017.
What makes the performance of AoV so different between the U.S. and China?
Firstly, Tencent made several mistakes when it released the “Arena of Valor”. The biggest mistake is that Arena of Valor was too slow to go live. Therefore, Mooton’s “Mobile Legends”, which duplicated almost all the gameplay and production from “Arena of Valor”, quickly dominate the MOBA mobile game market. (It is said that Mu Tong’s boss was a Tencent employee…)
The main reason for the delayed launch of “Arena of Valor” was because the strategy at the time was “sufficient and perfect localization, one language for one version”, and a total of nine versions just took too much time. While Tencent was still translating every word in game, Mutong already launched a “good enough” game to start gaining new players and building its user acquisition strategy on MOBA players.
MOBA is a relative new genre in mobile game market when it compares to RPG or simulation game. For such emerging game genre, players generally would have lower standards for overall quality, because all they want is to experience the gameplay. That is, players will be willing to spend their time on a title that is “good enough” for them.