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.