Tencent partners with Nintendo on console games for US

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Tencent logo at World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. (Image credit: TechNode/Shi Jiayi)

Chinese gaming giant Tencent is planning to leverage its partnership with Nintendo to create more console titles for the US market, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Tencent officials familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Despite its wildly successful domestic gaming business, Tencent’s efforts in the US and European markets with its original titles have been mixed, prompting the company to expand in these markets with the mobile version of established titles such as “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and “Call of Duty.”

Details: Tencent aims to learn how to make console games from Nintendo game engineers and create console games using virtual characters from known Nintendo titles, a Tencent official told the Wall Street Journal.

  • Tencent officials said that they had modest hopes for the sales of Nintendo’s Switch consoles, which Tencent agreed to help sell in China as part of the deal between the two companies announced in April, explaining that Chinese customers are more used to gaming on smartphones and PCs.
  • Profiting from a potential deal to distribute Nintendo games is also not high on Tencent’s priorities because Nintendo titles are not built to encourage a lot of spending, a Tencent official said.

Context: A few years ago, Tencent tried to tweak its popular mobile title “Honour of Kings,” a game that borrowed heavily from “League of Legends,” to meet the demands of American audiences.

  • After changing a series of culture-specific elements which may have been confusing to American players, the company rebranded the title as “Area of Valor.”
  • The rebrand lags far behind its Chinese version, with only 120,000 downloads across Apple’s App Store and Google Play in October, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. “Honour of Kings,” in comparison, was downloaded more than 110 million times during the same period, according to statistics from analytics company Qimai.
  • In October, Tencent and its subsidiary Riot Games announced plans to release the mobile version of “League of Legends” in 2020.

League of Legends Mobile is launching in 2020; registration for beta testing opens