The Charticle

How is Tencent's massive hit Honor of Kings performing outside of China?

How is Tencent's massive hit Honor of Kings performing outside of China?

It's difficult to overstate the success of Tencent's mobile MOBA Honor of Kings in its native China.

The game bagged more than 50 million daily active users in January 2017, nearly all of which came from China, and it's currently one of the world's top grossing mobile games.

Such is the level of Honor of Kings mania that a child born in China was reportedly named after the game.

Meanwhile, devotees in the West can mark down Arena of Valor - the title under which the game was launched across Europe in Augustas a potential baby name for the future.

But is the game generating the same fervour outside of China?

Strong foundations

First, let's contextualise the popularity of Honor of Kings/Arena of Valor in its homeland.

The game has been an ever-present in China's iPhone top grossing charts since December 12th 2015 and is a regular chart-topper.

It sat atop the pile as of October 3rd 2017, where it has been insurmountable since May 5th 2017. While the game was an instant hit, this is its best period to date.

Arena of Valor has also found success elsewhere in Asia, with Tencent striking up strategic partners to reach new markets. 

In South Korea, for instance, the game is published by Netmarble and integrated with leading messaging platform Kakao. 

There, it's performed solidly since its launch in April 2017. Consistent top 20 rankings in South Korea's iPhone grossing charts in the first month have since given way to a more variable performance, but a very respectable 79th remains the game's lowest position to date.

As of October 3rd 2017, it was at 61st.

Southeast Asian success

Branching out to Southeast Asia, and it's Singapore-based online game platform provider Garena Online taking on publishing duties.

Garena launched Arena of Valor in Vietnam at the end of February, and it's yet to drop out of the country's top 25 iPhone grossing ranks.

The game has topped the charts on a handful of occasions, most recently on September 4th, and was in third position as of October 3rd.

An Indonesian launch followed in June, with Arena of Valor peaking at 17th on the country's iPhone grossing charts. September and October have seen the game on the rise again after plunging as low as 264th in August, and it recorded a grossing position of 26th on October 3rd.

Garena has also launched versions of Arena of Valor in Thailand, where the game has been topping the grossing charts since August 8th 2017, and Taiwan, where it has spent the vast majority of 2017 inside the top three.

A new arena

It's fair to say, then, that Arena of Valor has carried the momentum from its success in China into Southeast Asia.

But what of Europe? Tencent's ambitions were signalled with the soft launch in a number of European countries under the name Strike of Kings, but only since August has the rebranded game been fully launched there.

Spain has been one of the countries where Arena of Valor has found most consistent success in Europe since that August launch, with the game often ranking among the country's top 50 grossing iPhone apps. On October 3rd, the game was ranked at 35th.

The game has performed similarly well in Turkey, where it has consitently ranked in the iPhone grossing charts among the top 100, and mostly in the top 50. 

Bar a few anomalous days outside the top 100, the same can be said of Arena of Valor's performance in Germany.

Ups and downs

In the UK meanwhile, the game's performance has been less consistent. Peaking at 79th in the country's iPhone grossing charts, but sinking at its lowest ebb to 688th, it's mostly remained within the top 500 but never really threatened to go any higher.

This has been largely reflected in France, while in Sweden and Poland it's faced an even greater struggle for traction.

Arena of Valor has not been an instant hit in Europe, then - only in the diminutive Luxembourg has it hit the top grossing spot - but there's certainly not been a wholesale rejection of the game either.

It's also worth noting that even in China, it took the game a while to be consistently topping the grossing charts. This is a genre that takes a while to build momentum and a community, which then pays off in revenues.

That Arena of Valor is already ranking so highly in some European territories bodes well, then. But Western success on a level with the Chinese release remains extremely unlikely.

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for PocketGamer.biz, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.

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Adam Wu Chief Operations Officer
Localization gonna be one of the major problem for Arena of Valor, since the Chinese version is based on famous local masterpiece - Romance of Three Kingdoms. All the character names, stories, specialties. are familiar for Chinese players.
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