Chinese gaming giant Tencent will launch its mega-hit smartphone game "Honor of Kings" in the EU and United States this year, a person familiar with the plans has claimed, amid a backlash in China over its addictive features.
However, a spokesman from Tencent on Friday denied a rumor that the game is set to enter the two markets in September. He did admit that the company "has been focusing on overseas markets and will seek proper opportunities to launch more versions for Western markets."
Mega-hit MOBA mobile game across the world
One of the most famous mobile games in China, "Honor of Kings" has roughly 55 million daily active users and analysts estimate its monthly revenue is more than one billion yuan (147.09 million US dollars), making it the firm's top-grossing game.
Playing "Honor of Kings" together is popular among young Chinese people. /VCG Photo
In order to explore more potential markets, Tencent launched Thai and Vietnamese versions in late 2016. Several months later, the game entered the South Korean and Turkey markets under new name "Strike of Kings."
It graced the top 10 rankings in June both on App Store and Google Play in Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey, according to mobile market consultancy AppAnnie.
Concerns accompany growth
Tencent announced this week it would slash the number of hours underage users can access the app, amid a wider campaign by the Chinese authorities to stamp out gaming behavior deemed "harmful to the psychology of minors."
To prevent players from severe gaming addiction, Tencent updated its anti-addiction system in "Honor of Kings". /VCG Photo
Amid public criticism that the game has resulted in addiction among Chinese children, Tencent rolled out new bans to restrict players under 12 to one hour of game-play a day and limit users under 18 years to two hours.
When will "Honor of Kings" be launched in the EU and the US? It seems uncertain at present, but Chinese tech giants' ambition to go abroad is indeed expanding rapidly.
(With inputs from Reuters)