Report: Tencent backs away from Arena of Valor after it fails to take off in the West

Tencent’s Arena of Valor missed the mark in the West, so much so that the company is reportedly shifting resources away from the Honour of Kings spinoff.

Tencent brought its massively popular MOBA Honour of Kings over to the West through the mobile and Switch game Arena of Valor, but sources close to the company say that the game didn’t take off as much as Tencent had hoped.

According to multiple sources speaking to Reuters, the company has now shifted resources away from Arena of Valor, a game they say has a combined 250,000 daily active users in North America and Europe.

“In those markets, we are really just letting it live or die on its own course,” one source said, while another told Reuters that Tencent has already disbanded the marketing team responsible for the game in the United States and Europe.

Reuters’ sources point out a handful of missteps thorough Arena of Valor’s development, including an early clash with League of Legends developer Riot Games (a Tencent-owned company) over a marketing overlap between the two similar MOBAs. That run-in led to a brief marketing freeze followed Riot getting approval power for Arena of Valor's future promotional plans. Reuters reports that the relationship between the two companies has since leveled out, and Riot is reportedly now working on a mobile version of League of Legends.

Decisions made during the development of Arena of Valor made it difficult for the company to host international events, for instance. A source also says Tencent didn’t initially realize that different factors in the West made it so competitive players gravitated toward PC rather than mobile, making the mobile-MOBA a harder sell in the US and Europe.

Reuters notes that Tencent’s strategy in the West has shifted some since it first released Arena of Valor in 2017. The company is instead looking to publisher more independent games, and aims to use WeGame X, the international version of its WeGame PC game store, to introduce Chinese-developed games into new markets.

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