Tencent’s mobile multiplayer online battle arena Honor of Kings is a massive hit particularly in its home turf: China. It has had a slower start in the U.S., where it launched in December with a revamped roster and a new name, Arena of Valor. Now, over six months since its release, it has been downloaded over one million times in the U.S. on the Apple App Store and Google Play and generated over $3 million in revenue, according to market researcher Sensor Tower.
Sensor Tower speculates that Arena of Valor’s slow growth in the U.S. is partly because it has been overshadowed by popular battle royale titles like Fortnite, which has raked in over $100 million in 90 days after launching on iOS. Tencent is undeterred, and it’s continuing to push forward in North America with an esports angle. It showed up at E3 for the first time this year, partnering with esports organization ESL and Razer to host The Valor Series playoffs.
“Despite their popularity in China and Southeast Asia, mobile MOBAs have struggled to gain traction among U.S. smartphone gamers,” said Sensor Tower cofounder Oliver Yeh in an email to GamesBeat. “Looking at its first six months, Arena of Valor is making a strong showing in the genre, grossing as much in six months as one of its main rivals, Vainglory, did in 10 months following its transition to free-to-play. It’s important to note that even the highest earning mobile MOBA in the U.S., Moonton’s Mobile Legends, has only made about a quarter of Fortnite’s first 90-day revenue on iOS across both platforms in two years.”
Tencent’s upcoming Arena of Valor World Cup tourney on July 18 and 19 will have 12 teams battling it out for a shot at a $550,000 purse. But it is likely only the start of Tencent’s plans to amplify its game in the West, especially since Arena of Valor will be launching on Nintendo Switch — though it will have to contend with Fortnite on that platform as well.