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Honor of Kings: Tencent’s flagship game eyes expansion in MENA and beyond

Explore the ambitious global expansion of Tencent's Honor of Kings, as it launches in the MENA region, Eastern Europe, and South Asia.

You are about to witness an exciting in the mobile gaming landscape as Tencent's Honor of Kings sets its sights on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Eastern Europe, and South Asia. From February 21, this famous multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game will be accessible to a new audience, marking a significant move in its global expansion strategy.

Rising to global prominence

Honor of Kings boasts a remarkable 100 million daily players, most of whom are based in China. This game has transcended mere entertainment; it's a cultural touchstone that challenges gender norms in gaming, pioneers mobile , and has popularised the concept of “loot boxes” – these are randomised in-game rewards that might have monetary value.

According to the market research firm Sensor Tower, Honor of Kings was ranked as the world's second-highest-grossing mobile game in December, only trailing behind Monopoly Go! This achievement is primarily driven by its immense popularity in its home country since its inception in 2015.

Overcoming past hurdles and future goals

Despite this enormous domestic success, Honor of Kings has faced challenges capturing the international market. Its initial attempt in 2017 to attract Western players with Arena of Valor, a modified game version, did not gain significant traction, mainly due to management missteps and cultural mismatches.

Honor of Kings Tencent's flagship game eyes expansion in MENA and beyond - 2
Image credit: levelinfinite.com

Tencent, undeterred by these setbacks, established Level Infinite in 2021. Headquartered in Singapore and Amsterdam, this new arm aims to spearhead the game's global expansion. The strategy seems to be working, with over 2 million pre-registrations in the new markets as of February 6.

A significant leap into esports

An exciting development for Honor of Kings is its inclusion in the Esports World Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this summer. With a substantial US$3 million prize pool, this event marks Tencent's ambition to replicate its esports success on a global stage.

The MENA challenge and beyond

The MENA region, known for its vibrant gaming community, presents a crucial test bed for Honor of Kings' international aspirations. The game's performance here could indicate its potential success in other parts of the world. Tencent plans to introduce the game in North America, South America, and Western Europe later this year, making this an exciting time for global esports enthusiasts.

In summary, Honor of Kings' journey from a domestic sensation to a global contender reflects the complexities and opportunities of the mobile gaming market. Its expansion into new territories is a testament to Tencent's commitment to broadening its reach and could reshape the landscape of mobile gaming worldwide.

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Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela is a freelance news editor at Tech Edition, where she writes about technology and often does listicles and product reviews. Based in Austria, Gabriela is a person with many and diverse hobbies. If you don't find her reading a book at home or baking something, she will probably be out hiking or taking some classes to learn a new skill.

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