Tencent’s new hit battle royale mobile game Game for Peace has the potential to surpass $1 billion in revenue in its first year, according to Niko Partners.
The market intelligence firm has released a Tencent Games Strategy 2019 report which states that the game, also known as Peacekeeper Elite, could have generated as much as $150m in its first month. Sensor Tower previously pegged first month sales on the iOS App Store at $70m - but it does not track Android figures in China.
Game for Peace is effectively the same game as PUBG Mobile which Tencent had previously two versions of, neither of which were able to monetise in China. Niko points to the country’s unofficial ban on Korean game IP and rules surrounding battle royale games as likely factors in this issue.
That game went offline in May and was swiftly replaced by Game for Peace. Minor changes such as the lack of blood splatter and the fact it doesn’t use Korean IP has helped Tencent already gain monetisation approval from regulators for the new title.
The early success of Game for Peace and another new title, Perfect World, estimated to have generated $100m-plus in its first month, will be a boon to Tencent’s mobile business for the next year.
Last year’s big game freeze in China still led to a sales increase of 24 per cent year-over-year in 2018 for the company's mobile division. Online games sales in Q1 2019 however fell one per cent year-on-year, leaving Tencent looking for new hits.
Niko notes that at Tencent’s recent annual UP conference, the firm showcased 20 games in its pipeline as it looks to diversify its portfolio. Not just battle royales and RPGs, these included sandbox, simulation, survival, roguelike and interactive games.
While not officially announced, Niko also speculates that Tencent could partner with Nintendo to bring its mobile games to China. None of its titles, which include Fire Emblem Heroes, Dragalia Lost and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, have launched in the country so far.
The two companies already have a deal in place to launch the Switch console in China - subject to further approvals.