Tencent bringing Honour of Kings to the west
Chinese mobile gaming juggernaut Tencent is planning to bring its most popular title to the west. Honour of Kings, a game in which players “hack and slash” their way through battle arenas like warriors of old, is by far Tencent’s most profitable mobile game. Some estimates suggest it could be worth more than half of the company’s mobile gaming revenue this year.
Honour of Kings is so popular that it’s come under the scrutiny of the Chinese government (a subject we covered just last week). Pushing the game out to millions of people globally could be a huge boost to the company’s profitability – and it would also diversify its customer base away from readers of The People’s Daily (the mouthpiece of the Chinese government, which recently criticized the game).
Tencent’s share price has appreciated an incredible 42% in 2017 so far
SOURCE: Yahoo Finance
Tencent is trying to create a global phenomenon with the title, which is debuting under different names in different regions (in many non-Chinese markets, it is known as Strike of Kings). The company’s also adding local touches to the game in an effort to increase customer interest – in some markets, that means adding Warner Bros. creative properties to the line up of playable characters: fancy throwing a few punches as Batman or Van Helsing? It turns out plenty of people do.
We have written before about Tencent’s incredibly powerful freemium business model – the game is free, but content within it (special weapons, clothing, characters, or the ability to skip levels your stuck on, etc.) costs real money. These “micro-transactions” have proven to be an incredibly effective way to monetize games. Tencent will be hoping to reproduce its domestic success internationally, and there is plenty of evidence that micro-transactions work with western consumers.
Honour of Kings taken worldwide could be a transformative move for Tencent. In April, the app secured gross revenue of $441 million in China alone. What could it do globally?
Dominion holds Tencent in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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