Tencent already has a PC esports success on its hands with Riot Games’s League of Legends, but it wants to expand into mobile as well. An insider at Tencent said that the company will announce a World Cup tournament for its mobile multiplayer online battle arena game Arena of Valor. The event will be held sometime in July in Los Angeles with a prize pool of $500,000 or more.
Known esports squads such as Team Liquid and Vitality have already signaled their support for the Arena of Valor tournament. Both teams compete in the MOBA space, with Liquid specializing in Valve’s Dota 2 and Vitality in League of Legends.
The esports market is poised to hit $2.5 billion by 2020, but that’s mainly on PC. However some companies are committed to growing the mobile esports scene. Last year, Amazon hosted the Mobile Masters Invitational, featuring titles such as Blizzard’s competitive digital card game Hearthstone and Super Evil Megacorp’s mobile MOBA Vainglory. Supercell’s Clash Royale tower rush game just got its own esports league. And Skillz, a mobile esports platform, reported that its top players took home a total of $2.7 million in 2017 by playing competitive games on their phones.
“Tencent is also planning to begin its global esports rollout,” said the insider at Tencent. “In North America, the company will be announcing a series of regional and localized/collegiate-level tournaments, while the Arena of Valor World Cup will represent the highest level of tournament play.”
Arena of Valor goes by the name of Honor of Kings in Asia, where it’s hugely popular. Before it launched in North America and South America in December, it already boasted over 200 million registered players and 80 million daily active users.