Huawei's consumer electronics subsidiary Honor appears to be preparing a more meaningful entry into the eSports segment, newly emerged intellectual property documentation reviewed by Android Headlines suggests. The Chinese manufacturer filed to trademark the term "Honor Hunter" in Europe, classifying it as a moniker associated with a wide variety of industries, many of which it describes as being closely related to video game tournaments and other forms of competitions based on interactive entertainment. Notable segments related to Honor Hunter include smartphones, wearables, smart glasses, tablets, laptops, virtual reality headsets, set-top boxes, computer peripherals, and even robots. The broad classification makes it unclear whether the Honor Hunter name is meant to denote a product or a service, though it's possible Huawei's unit is planning for it to be attached to both, i.e. launch an entirely new ecosystem under the said moniker. The European Union Intellectual Property Office is still in the process of reviewing Honor's application but with no obvious IP clashes being an issue, it's likely to approve the trademark by early spring, allowing the company to start using the Honor Hunter label for commercial purposes by the time the next edition of Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona, Spain.
Growing gaming ambitions
While Honor is no stranger to the gaming segment, its focus on mobile games and related technologies fully formed only recently. Half a year back, the company announced the Honor Play, an Android handset designed specifically for mobile gamers meant to serve as a more affordable alternative to the likes of the Razer Phone 2 and the ASUS ROG Phone. Following a largely positive reception from both critics and consumers alike, Honor is already rumored to be working on a successor which may debut as early as Q1 2019, as indicated by the company's established product practices. Honor's growing focus on the gaming space did not come out of the blue as its parent has been looking at video games for some time now, particularly in the context of competitive play - eSports. Last year, Huawei partnered with eSports team SK Gaming, having agreed to sponsor its competitive ambitions in the mobile space. That particular collaboration also involved Honor and its devices, with the subsidiary already being a sponsor of Polish eSports team Illuminar Gaming, supporting its League of Legends ambitions since early 2016.
This July, Huawei also teamed up with European telecom juggernaut A1, becoming a presenting partner of the A1 eSports League Austria in its second season. The Shenzhen, China-based manufacturer said it's satisfied with its involvement in the event following its conclusion and it's likely to return to sponsor it next year as well. Neither Huawei nor Honor have yet taken a serious stab at getting involved in a stateside eSports initiative, though their reluctance to do so is likely tied to Huawei's recent troubles with the U.S. government which escalated earlier this month after the Justice Department got its CFO Meng Wanzhou arrested in Canada and is presently trying to extradite her, suspecting her of a conspiracy to commit fraud and violate trade sanctions against Iran.
Straight out of Samsung's playbook
While Huawei has been ramping up its gaming focus in recent times, that strategy is far from unprecedented, especially now that gaming-focused handsets are making a return. Samsung has been sponsoring eSports events for years now and even established its own competitive team called Samsung TTP Esports in the summer of 2017. More recently, the South Korean tech juggernaut invested massive resources into promoting the Galaxy Note 9 as the ultimate portable gaming option on the market, even as it traditionally advertised its flagship phablet lineup as a product series geared toward productivity. The company went as far as to strike a partnership with Epic Games in order for its devices to obtain timed exclusivity of the Android port of Fortnite, a battle royale hit which already received numerous game-of-the-year awards and is still generating momentum. Outside of the scope of the mobile industry where the likes of Razer, ASUS, and Nubia have recently been trying to make gaming handsets a thing again, even Amazon is investing in eSports, largely as an opportunity to promote its other products and services. Whether the mobile segment's gaming craze continues in 2019 remains to be seen, though Honor at the very least appears to be preparing to continue it with whatever "Honor Hunter" ends up being.