Tencent’s TiMi Studios, which developed the mobile-only (Android, iOS, and Switch) free-to-play game Honor of Kings (known as Arena of Valor outside China), made more money in 2020 than industry giants such as Activision, NetEase, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive.
According to a report, The creators of the wildly popular MOBA game in the Middle Kingdom and Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty Mobile had revenues of $10 billion last year. They thus provided Tencent with almost half (43% to be exact) of its total mobile gaming revenue, which exceeded $23 billion in the last quarter of 2020 (up 29%). Honor of Kings – which generated $2.5 billion – meanwhile proved to be the world’s most financially profitable mobile title for the second time in a row. The result achieved by the Chinese studio is particularly impressive when compared to the revenues of the largest developers in the games industry. For comparison: Activision, which owns Blizzard Entertainment, earned “only” $8 billion, EA – $5.6 billion, and Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of GTA V – a “measly” $3.2 billion. Revenues of these companies are illustrated by the chart below
League of Legends clone is not the only popular production in the output of TiMi Studios. As previously mentioned, the developer also created a mobile version of Call of Duty. According to Activision Blizzard, this title helped increase brand revenue by 200%, while boosting the company’s mobile revenue to $3.9 billion. It’s scary to think what impact TiMi Studios developers will have on the games industry if they move away from mobile game development and start working on AAA titles. The success of Genshin Impact has shown that there is a place for games from the Far East based on the free-to-play distribution model on the European and American markets. Who knows, maybe in the near future more games will be distributed this way.