Did you know that League of Legends is the world’s biggest PC game, not the biggest or highest-profiting multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game around the globe? This name belongs to the mobile MOBA game Honor of Kings (HoK).

But, a game known as League of Legends: Wild Rift coming out later in 2020, could be a contender to be one of the future HoK.

Wild Rift seeks to bring the thrilling League of Legends MOBA gameplay to smartphones. But can it duplicate the popularity that was Honor of Kings? Rough Rift will significantly increase in the Western Esports and gaming marketplace if it can.

Let’s look at HoK’s history HoK and look back to 2014. PC games like League of Legends heavily influenced the time that HoK was a part of the MOBA genre to get an idea of how HoK became a blockbuster smash.

Here’s how a pitch from HoK might have looked like in 2014:

I’m working on an online game that will be a more simplified version of the most played PC MOBA game. It’s action-packed 10 minutes of 5v5 games versus 30-40 minutes on PC

This game has a significantly simpler learning curve, combining MOBA fundamental gameplay with an easy pick-up nature. The game was downloaded within minutes and launched in minutes, and you’ll discover the game in under 30 minutes.

  • The game can be played at any time with your friends. All you need is a smartphone.
  • The market size of the TAM (total potential market) is more than 2 billion users.
  • It can draw much younger and more significant numbers of female players who’ve never been in MOBAs.
  • Here’s an illustration of an of the heroes from the game

The history of Honor of Kings

In February of this year, HoK made a record surpassing USD 1 billion in only one month. But, the tale of HoK was not an instant blockbuster. When HoK was released in 2015, it started as a MOBA for mobile 3v3 players and could not get traction because 5v5 PC-based MOBAs such as League and DOTA 2 were so popular. Tim is today one of Tencent’s top successful and well-known games studios; behind HoK had a difficult time during its initial days because the game was performing poorly.

Tencent realized the potential for multiplayer gaming on smartphones early and was reported to have asked Riot (owned by the company) to look into making a League of Legends for mobile. In the early days, players were sceptical about whether a version of “League” on smartphones could provide a satisfactory enough experience for mobile. It was proven correct when HoK’s initial 3v3 failed, as the smartphone hardware couldn’t run a smooth 5v5 game.

The game improved when HoK was relaunched as a MOBA game that played 5v5 as smartphones’ hardware was able to keep getting faster thanks to bigger screen sizes. HoK is now one of the most profitable games, with 100 million DAUs by 2020. That implies that the number of gamers playing HoK is greater than the number of players in League of Legends (Riot reported an Active Player Base of over 100M MAUs in 2016).

An American Phenomenon has been born.

Between December 2016 and May, 2017 HoK witnessed its DAUs and MAUs grow by more than a year, rising to 56M DAUs and 163M MUs.

HoK has slowed down social media channels and brought people closer during the holiday season. In China, the younger generation displayed less and less enthusiasm for repetitive and exaggerated TV shows as more families opted for Hongbao (red envelopes) and mobile games.

In the last quarter of 2017, it had accumulated 200M MAUs, where one of seven Chinese players played it.

Early Criticism of Honor for Kings

In China in the year 2015, HoK was subject to the same criticism similar to what the West is facing now regarding gaming on mobile devices and girls:

Who would want to play a “watered-down” game that re-creates a PC game? The truth is that when HoK was first introduced as a 3v3-based game but was rejected by the public and was unable to gain popularity. People took issue with the game’s joystick controls, poor quality graphics, and the fact that it was unlikely that “real players” would be interested in playing a “watered-down” game on the smartphone’s tiny screen.

Girls aren’t excellent or real gamers: When Honor of Kings became more famous, Chinese netizens made fun of female mobile gamers for having a terrible time playing video games and even labelled players who play poor in games as “Nu Da Xue Sheng ” (female college students).

MOBAs are among the most challenging and complicated game genres, with a steep learning curve, and are played on PCs using a keyboard and mouse. The honour of Kings and Arena of Valor has successfully brought the exciting 5v5 MOBA experience to smartphones and dramatically diminished the entry barriers. In addition, HoK is a highly addicting and enjoyable game, according to 2017 data. Players averaged 47.2 minutes of playtime and played 2.33 times per day.

The honour of Kings surprised the video game industry with two theories:

  • MOBAs can be played via smartphones, and the level of participation and revenues reflect that –HoK is an enjoyable, competitive, easy-to-play multiplayer game that sets records for profits of any MOBA game ever played.
  • Young women were the leading players in an un-casual, core multiplayer game in which the MOBA game is typically played by 90 per cent of males. It’s quite an impressive feat.
  • Additionally, HoK introduced more new players to MOBAs than any other MOBA game ever played. A recently published article revealed that 80.6 per cent of females and 54 per cent of Male Honor of Kings players are first-time MOBA players.

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