Fresh news taken from a report made by Reuters indicate that we might be getting a mobile version of League of Legends soon. The report also gave an insight on why there wasn’t any development in the mobile front despite mobile games becoming increasingly popular throughout the 2010s; I’m sure that they were in the talks at some point.
The article now confirms my suspicions via an anonymous source:
“Riot rejected a Tencent proposal years ago to develop a mobile version, one of the sources said.”Reuters
While the article also stated that Tencent did try for a similar game in the mobile front that isn’t directly tied to any League of Legends content named “Arena of Valor” internationally, it didn’t seem to do well outside of the Chinese market.
It’s interesting to note that Tecent had hoped that just popularity of the moba genre alone would be able to garner enough saturation to support the development of the game; Despite being able to use the IP in however way they deem fit .
Tencent had already purchased a majority stake in the company since 2011 and has now fully owned Riot Games as of 2015.
The report also quoted other sources regarding Riot Game’s financials as a company:
““League of Legends is not doing as well as it used to and so Riot badly needs a new way to monetise the game, especially considering that it is Riot’s only game,” said Gu Tianyi, an Amsterdam-based analyst with gametracker Newzoo.”Reuters
Since introducing the lootbox concept to their game in 2017, it seems like that was still not enough to bolster interest or Riot’s bottom line. I think Tencent is hoping that a mobile version would bolster renewed interest in this franchise to either get new or returning players to play it on a more accessible device.
Taking a quick look at google trends from after the beta testing phase, it seems like interest in the game is at an all time low as compared to when the game was at its infancy which does not bode well for the future of the game.
It remains to be seen if this move will be able to make League of Legends compete with the new rising kids on the block, Fortnite and Apex Legends.