Tencent’s Honour of Kings is undisputedly the world’s most popular game, and in the mobile space its winning formula of compelling content, brief engagement, commerce and shareability has left rivals trailing.

Why it matters: HoK’s recipe for success compared to rivals reflects a keen understanding of a social media landscape built around groups of friends, with the game acting as a key area of interaction. 

  • Tencent’s flagship game boasts 100 million active daily users who take part in quick, 10-minute games accessed through WeChat, developed by Tencent and a vital part of the game’s success, reports Content Commerce Insider. Members of China’s online community spend around one-third of their time on WeChat, according to its creator, Allen Zhang.
  • Tencent’s seamless use of its messaging app to allow groups of friends to access and share the game allows it to dominate rival Alibaba in this space – sharing links to Alibaba’s Taobao or Tmall is a cumbersome process on WeChat. 
  • In December last year, app-tracking firm Sensor Tower estimated Honour of Kings had earned around $2.5 billion last year though in-app purchases. The game is so successful, however, it has led to addiction concerns, especially among children, the SCMP reports. And Tencent quickly introduced a series of anti-addiction features following the game being branded as “poison” in The People’s Daily.

Key quote

“Today’s youth have a more introverted social culture, which allows Honour of Kings to become a vehicle for social interaction,” Li Min, game director and general manager of Tencent's Timi Studios, which developed Honor of Kings – speaking to the SCMP.

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Sourced from SCMP, Reuters, Content Commerce Insider, Sensor Tower