Tencent is one of China's biggest technology and social media companies. It operates WeChat, a platform that has more than a billion users, but the majority of the company's profits comes from video games and one of the biggest drivers of this profit is a game called Honor of Kings.
Known as Wangzhe Rongyao in China, the hugely popular MOBA has earned more than $13 billion since it launched in 2015, making it one of the most lucrative mobile games of all time. Now Tencent wants to bring this flagship title to global markets as it tries to allieviate a restrictive business environment in its native China (via GamesIndustry).
The company announced: "We will be rolling out Honor of Kings by TiMi Studio Group to you global gamers by the end of this year!" via Level Infinite's Twitter account. It also said that rounds of closed beta tests will be "gradually announced" from the beginning of next month.
This comes as Tencent faces a severely restricted business environment in China as the national regulator has frozen the company out by not granting it publishing licenses. In China the government requires that all game titles released in the country must have a publishing license, but it stopped approving them for nine months.
Recently this has been unfrozen with 105 games approved so far this year – a major decline compared to 2017 when over 9,000 titles were given the go ahead – but Tencent has not been among this year's approvals.
Tencent and its rival NetEase have been left out with none of their games given publishing approval so far. The two games giants have been left waiting for almost a year for any of their upcoming titles to be given the go-ahead for launching in the country.
Meanwhile, this isn't the first time that Tencent has tried to expand Honor of Kings internationally. In 2017 the title was rebranded to Arena of Valor as its international name as it brought the game to overseas markets. This announcement looks like it will be a fresh attempt. Tencent also has the triple-A spin-off Honor of Kings: World for consoles and PC currently in development.
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