League of Legends, the largely popular MOBA and esports game, is finally coming to mobile devices. As reported by Reuters, Riot Games has been working in partnership with its parent company Tencent on the much-anticipated project. It is yet unclear when this League of Legends mobile version might be released, as sources aren’t sure of when the development began.
Although it’s still the most popular PC game based on unique users, League of Legends hasn’t been doing as well as it did in the past. Speculation suggests this might be one of the reasons why Riot Games changed its mind on the mobile version.
Tencent, the Chinese holding company, became the majority shareholder of Riot Games in 2012 and became the outright owner in 2015. Years ago, Tencent already proposed to Riot that they should make a League of Legends mobile version. Not agreeing with the Chinese giant, Riot declined their proposal as the game did well on PC platforms. Tencent went on to release Honour of Kings, a game very similar to League of Legends, on mobile devices. It became the highest grossing MOBA game as the mobile market is quite big in China. They even tried bringing it closer to the western market with an adaption called Arena of Valor. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite stick with the western players and was considered a failure.
The mobile game market is very large in China as it contributes to 57 percent of their video game revenue. However, this isn’t the case in western markets, where the PC and console revenue largely supersede that of mobile platforms. Looking at the esports scene, there have been numerous attempts by mobile games to break into the market. Unfortunately, none succeeded as the vast majority of esports games still use the PC platform.
Riot Games wouldn’t be the first developer to port its game to mobile either. Games like Fortnite and PUBG already have mobile versions, but they aren’t nearly as popular as the PC versions are. It will be interesting to see how Riot pulls it off, but we can be almost certain the mobile version won’t do better than the PC version.
Do you think League of Legends mobile will ever reach the heights that the PC version did? Let us know in the comments below!
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.