Tencent Games has officially launched Arena of Valor in North America, on both Android and iOS. Arena of Valor is a free-to-play MOBA game that proved to be immensely popular in China, where it's known as Honor of Kings. Tencent says that most young Chinese users are hooked on the game, and it even implemented time limits so that kids under the age of 12 don't play too much at a time. Honor of Kings has more than 200 million players in the country and a 20-year-old player recently died of exhaustion after months of sleepless nights playing the game. With the game being such a huge hit in China, the developer decided to make it available globally and it rebranded it as Arena of Valor. The game might make its way to more regions worldwide later on, if it enjoys similar success in North America as it does in China.
Tencent has created a new team dedicated to turning the local Chinese hit into a global one, which meant localizing and optimizing Arena of Valor for new markets, even including Western heroes rather than fantasy champions from the Chinese folklore. Each Arena of Valor game has a five-on-five (5v5) battle with rounds lasting between 10 and 15 minutes. Team mates have to work together to control their heroes and destroy the other team's base. Each champion has unique playstyles and abilities, offering exciting diversity and different results. Since it's just making its way to North America and not everyone heard of the original Honor of Kings, Arena of Valor comes with instructive tutorials, an intuitive, easy-to-use UI, as well as practice matches where users can try out the unique abilities and strengths of various heroes.
The developer says that even players who have never heard of the game should find it easy to get started, find their favorite heroes, and come up with winning strategies. Tencent says that Honor of Kings is a MOBA cultural phenomenon in China, and it hopes that Arena of Valor will prove equally successful in North America and other markets it might reach. Unlike other free-to-play hits such as League or Legends or Dota 2, which are available on PC, Arena of Valor was designed specifically for mobile devices. This likely contributed to the game's massive success in China, where mobile gaming dominates the market. It remains to be seen, however, whether China's biggest mobile game can replicate its success on a global scale.