Earlier this year, Chinese gaming giant Tencent opened up North America registration for its hit mobile multiplayer online battle arena Arena of Valor ai??i?? and fans wonai??i??t have to wait for much longer to play.
In a broadcast today, it announced that Arena of Valor will be rolling out servers in North America and Latin America tomorrow on December 19. It will be available on both iOS and Android.
In China, its numbersAi??are staggering: Over 200 million people have registered, and it boasts up to 80 million daily active users.
Arena sticks to Honor’s core MOBA formula, where teams of five distinctive heroes clash in a bid to take over each other’s bases. The largest change is a cultural one: Arena drops Chinese legends in favor of Western fantasy tropes, and it switches to Facebook for connecting friends instead of WeChat.
The game has been available in Europe since August, and has had at least some success with more than 2 million downloads. The problem, as The Verge notes, is that Chinese companies have historically had problems translating the success of their domestic games to an international audience. The titles rarely have any name recognition outside of China, and there are differences in gaming habits that make success difficult. Where limited access to games has led to MOBAs becoming wildly popular on phones in China, there’s a stigma against mobile gaming in North America.
Arena of Valor isnai??i??t the only mobile MOBA in the game. Super Evil MegacorpAi??has raised $63 million for its cross-platform titleAi??Vainglory, and itai??i??s hosted a number of esports events such as the Vainglory World Championship. Super Evilai??i??s entry is 3-vs.-3, but it will be rolling out a 5-vs.-5 mode soon.
Tencent is also creating an eSports league to boost competitive play and is partnering with livestreamers to drum up hype, but there’s no guarantee of success — certainly not when it has to take on established titles like Vainglory. However, it’s the attempt that matters. Chinese behemoths like Tencent know they’ll have to move beyond their home turf to keep growing, and that means doing more than acquiring foreign companies to ride on their successes.
In addition to opening up the game to players in the U.S., Canada, and Latin American countries, Tencent is working on bringing Arena of Valor to the Nintendo Switch at a date to be announced.