Monthly active users (MAU) and total time spent playing Tencent’s hit mobile title “Honour of Kings” fell significantly year-on-year in February 2019, according to a report released Monday from Beijing-based data consultancy Analysys.

MAU for the title in February 2019 declined around 34% year-on-year to around 169 million, and the number of total time spent fell nearly 50% year-on-year to around 164 million hours.

“Honour of Kings” is the most popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) mobile game in China, and the decline in its play time weighed heavily on the entire genre, according to Analysys analyst Liao Xuhua.

The lower MAU and time spent for the title, however, could be good news for both Tencent and the gaming industry, Liao said. The reduced number of users in “Honour of Kings” could help Tencent target core users more easily and potentially further commercialize the game.

In addition to benefiting Tencent, users released from “Honour of Kings”, many of whom are “moderate and heavy users,” could also benefit other titles in the scene, the report said.

“Moderate and heavy users have these traits: they are more likely to play games that are more demanding in terms of time and energy, and they are more likely to spend money in the game,” Liao told TechNode (our translation). “Those games have average revenue per user (ARPU) of more than RMB 100, while casual games only have ARPU of RMB 20 to 30.”

While “Honour of Kings” revenue could be affected by the decline in users and playtime, Liao expects the impact to be very limited. “’Honour of Kings’ still has the highest number of users on mobile. Even after taking into account non-game apps, it is still among the top 30,” Liao said (our translation).

MAU for eight of the top 10 mobile game genres grew in the 12 months ended February 2019, while MAU for MOBA games declined nearly 3%. The total time spent on MOBA games in February 2019 was also just a little more than half of that in February 2018, the report showed.

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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