Tencent's TiMi Studios, which developed the mobile (available on Android, iOS and Switch) free-to-play game Honor of Kings (known as Arena of Valor outside of China), made more money in 2020 than Western industry giants like Activision, NetEase, Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive. This data was presented in the latest Reuters report.
The devs of the wildly popular, at least in China, MOBA and Call of Duty Mobile (published by Activision Blizzard) achieved a revenue of 10 billion dollars last year. Thus, they provided Tencent with almost half (43% to be exact) of the total mobile gaming revenue, which exceeded $23 billion in the last quarter of 2020 (up 29%). Honor of Kings - which generated $2.5 billion - on the other hand, for the second time in a row turned out to be the most financially profitable mobile title in the world.
The result achieved by the Chinese studio is particularly impressive against the background of the revenues achieved by the largest publishers in the video games industry. For comparison: Activision, which, after all, owns Blizzard Entertainment, earned "only" 8 billion dollars during the same period, EA - 5.6 billion dollars, and Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of GTA V - a "measly" 3.2 billion dollars. The revenues of these companies are illustrated in the chart below.
The League of Legends clone is not the only popular title created by TiMi Studios. As I mentioned earlier, the developer also created a mobile version of Call of Duty. According to Activision Blizzard, this title helped increase brand's revenue by 200%, while boosting the company's mobile revenue to $3.9 billion.
It's scary to think what impact TiMi Studios developers will have on the gaming industry if the team moves away from mobile game development and start working on AAA titles. The success of Genshin Impact has shown that there is a place for F2P games from the Far East on the European and American markets. Who knows, maybe in the near future more games will be distributed this way.