China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd and Riot Games’ U.S. unit are partnering up to bring the massively successful MOBA, League of Legends, to mobile devices.
According to a report by Reuters, Riot and Tencent have been working on developing a mobile port for League of Legends for more than a year now.
One of the sources at Reuters claims that Tencent rejected Riot Games’ proposal of a mobile-based LoL game several years ago. A 2018 report from The Informational says, “Riot’s founders didn’t want to water down the PC-based ‘League’ for smartphones.”
According to data provided by Statista, the desktop version of League of Legends brought in $1.4 billion in revenue last year, even though that was a massive 21% drop from a year earlier.
Gu Tianyi, an analyst at Newzoo says:
“League of Legends is not doing as well as it used to and so Riot badly needs a new way to monetize the game, especially considering that it is Riot’s only game.”
And that does make sense on some level. More and more developers are going to Tencent to develop mobile ports of their games. PlayerUnknown’s Battle Grounds received PUBG Mobile for Android and iOS devices thanks to Tencent. EA’s Apex Legends is also getting a mobile port thanks to Tencent. Call of Duty also has a mobile port that is distributed by Tencent.
According to a source at Kotaku, League of Legends Mobile will be different from the PC version but will retain its general appearance.
“The game is not a 1-to-1 port,” the source said. Of course, there will be some updates and improvements such as items and runes. It is also likely there will be fewer characters as “the gameplay is built for mobile.”
In the 13 years of its existence, Riot has published only one game—League of Legends. Perhaps this is the reason why LoL for PC is still considered one of the biggest MOBA games of all time. It is easier to focus on the quality of one product than to manage a whole roster of games.
By now, everyone knows that there is a huge audience that plays games on mobile devices. So if Riot Games manages to design a mobile port of League of Legends and Tencent manages to distribute it to the huge mobile based audience, both companies are looking at a profit of millions. However, before the arrival of League of Legends to mobile, since there are so many MOBA clones already, official LOL will have to persistent to retain its player-base.