While Arena of Valor [Free] is bigger than sliced bread in Asian territories, the game hasn't yet made a similar massive impact on the Western market. You could point your finger at a lot of reasons for this, but the one I find the most reasonable is the stigma towards mobile games from people who would likely really enjoy AoV if they just gave it a try. In Asian countries, hardcore gamers don't have any problem playing games on their phone, which isn't really the case here. This week, an insider at Tencent let us in on plans to turn that perception around with a global mobile esports strategy that aims to put mobile esports on par with esports on any other platform.

At the highest level, Arena of Valor is having an LA-based tournament which is going to kick off with over $500,000 in prize money, and while the Arena of Valor International Championship typically has been held in southeast Asia, that isn't always going to be the case. It sounds like they're going to rotate where this massive event is being held, sort of like the way Blizzard handles their Hearthstone [Free] events.

In North America specifically, we are going to have the Arena of Valor World Cup which sounds like it's going to be the North American counterpart to the other large events Tencent has done. Pro esports teams are already endorsing and planning on participating in the World Cup like Team Liquid and other recognizable names.

These massive events are intended to be the top of the competitive Arena of Valor pyramid, with many regional and smaller North American tournaments bringing lower-level players into the competitive fold. Tencent is hoping collegiate tournaments spread across the country will bring loads more players into the mobile esports fold as they make the stunning realization that the phone they carry in their pocket is capable of providing a hardcore gaming experience for free.

Will it all work? Who knows! I'm just happy a company with the resources of Tencent is building internal teams to tackle both esports as well as the perception of mobile esports in the North American (and larger global) markets.

  • Howi De Ramos

    Relishing my 5v5 golden ticket. AOV is for pussies.

  • enrich

    The reason Arena of Valor hasn't caught on in NA is because Vainglory is simply a better made game. Both are excellent products, but the design, gameplay, and depth of Vainglory are untouchable.

  • chfuji

    Tencent needs to figure out how to pull their vested LoL fans over to AoV. It took me nearly a half-hour to bring someone who “plays League 24/7” up to speed about Arena and convince them to try a free game that plays and looks great on your phone. There should already be cross-promotion in-place between the two since they already share a bunch of characters and other elements.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I wonder if part of the problem is there's so many similarities that it just comes off as a LoL knock-off even though it's made by the same company? Or something? It's super weird, as I've done the same with friends of mine I play LoL with who weren't even interested in trying AoV until I badgered them over and over.