After the notable impact that the Nintendo Switch has already made in the console gaming market (selling over 4.7 million units during the four months after it was released), as well as the company’s announcement of the return of the NES mini, which we can expect to take place in the summer of 2018, Nintendo have recently taken another momentous step: a partnership with successful gaming and social media company Tencent Holdings.
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Why Has This Partnership Been Formed?
The immediate purpose of this partnership appears to be towards the publication of Tencent’s massively popular video game, Honor of Kings, on the Nintendo Switch. Tencent, as one of China’s biggest gaming companies, is most likely to be a hugely beneficial partner for Nintendo, helping to open up the Chinese market for them, which – for many years – has not witnessed Nintendo as a powerful industry player within the country. Although the Nintendo Switch is, as of yet, unavailable in China, it is not unlikely that is will be made so in the future. Nintendo’s 7% increase in shares at the beginning of September 2017 to the highest figures in nine years has been largely attributed to their new partnership with Tencent Holdings (which is based in Shenzhen).
What is Honor of Kings?
Honor of Kings – also known as King of Glory as well as operating under the title Arena of Valour in anticipation of its introduction to the Western video game market – is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) belonging to Tencent Holdings. Currently, it is the company’s highest earning video game, accounting for $400 million in April 2017 and contributing to an entire half of Tencent Holdings’ total smartphone profits.
The game is highly similar to League of Legends, which has for many years been one of the best known and most popular video games after it was released by Riot Games on October the 27th in 2009, with its own eSports League, the “League of Legends World Championship“. Like League of Legends, Honor of Kings is played in teams of five and provides an array of characters to choose from to play as. One of Honor of Kings‘ selling points is that its characters are all based on figures from Chinese history, yet with a new and imaginative interpretation of them, not only making them more suitable for gameplay but also perhaps more interesting and accessible in the modern day. The game’s creators have altered these historical figures, however, even introducing a villainous aspect to a portion of them, such as “Bian Que”, who historically was China’s very first physician … in game, however, he also has the sinister potential to poison his enemies.
There are reports that Tencent has formed additional alliances with DC Comics and Warner Bros. in order to be able to incorporate established superheroes – including, for example, Batman, who has been transformed into an assassin with the stealth ability of disappearance at will – in an additional bid to appeal to Western audiences.
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What Has Made Honor of Kings So Successful?
Released in 2015 and laying claim to over 200 million players in total and 50 million active players per day, this video game from Tencent Holdings’ is made extremely accessible for a large market by the fact that it is a mobile phone game and consequently playable anywhere and on the go, available on both Android and Apple iOS, as well as its sessions being able to be completed in around twenty minute time slots, thereby making it an easy method of spending break times. Furthermore, with over sixty characters to play as, there are a multitude of possibilities, subsequently ensuring that Honor of Kings does not become monotonous.
Like League of Legends, there are now eSports tournaments for Honor of Kings in China. The King Pro League Finals that took place in Shanghai in December 2016 were won by the ASGARD Xiange team. Not only does the making of Honor of Kings into an eSports aid in raising public awareness of the game and subsequently encouraging more and more people to play, but it also incorporates the game into other associated markets, such as eSports betting. Even mainstream Western betting sites like Betway have offered betting odds on tournaments such as the King of Glory KPL Autumn League, despite the fact that Honor of Kings is not yet popular in the West.
Consequently, due to the gargantuan popularity of Honor of Kings in China and its rise in eSports, the upcoming debut of the game in the West looks like a promising prospect for the future. Official dates for the release are yet to be announced but it is a good idea to keep your ears and eyes open for information regarding this most exciting of events.