League of Legends, the world’s most popular PC games nearly 10 years after its release, has an official mobile version in the works according to Reuters‘ sources. League of Legends developer Riot Games is reportedly working together with parent company and mobile powerhouse Tencent to make it a reality.
Sources report that the title has been in the works for more than a year, although it’s unlikely to be released in 2019. Riot Games and Tencent have yet to confirm the report, although it would be in line with Tencent’s overall strategy in recent years.
There have been a number of mobile clones of the hit MOBA, including Mobile Legends and Tencent’s own Arena of Valor. The titles are so similar that in 2018 Mobile Legends’ developer Moonton was forced to pay $2.9 million in damages to Tencent. Arena of Valor is free from legal worry due to being owned by the same company as League of Legends.
Tencent's mobile MOBA has 140 million active monthly users in China.
Arena of Valor was first released in Tencent’s home country of China in 2016 as Honor of Kings. It’s still hugely popular there, and in March the game had 140 million active monthly users. This number likely surpasses the number of League of Legends players worldwide, despite it being the most played PC game. However, Arena of Valor has failed to take off with a Western audience, even though it had a Nintendo Switch release in 2017.
A new mobile MOBA title bearing the League of Legends brand could be just what the company needs to capitalize on mobile gamers overseas. Plus, the move could boost viewership of League of Legends esports events, which the company has pushed in recent years. Look no further than the Mid-Season Invitational event, which finished last week in Taipei and pulled in 1.7 million peak viewers, excluding Chinese viewers.
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