Reports Suggest Mobile Version of League of Legends is Finally in Development
Riot Games and Tencent are reportedly collaborating on the production of a League of Legends mobile app, a move that gamers across the world have long and keenly anticipated. Chinese tech company Tencent has made overtures to Riot Games in the past, seeking to take one of the world's most popular desktop games to an even wider audience. It appears that Riot Games have finally acquiesced to those requests to take their flagship product to new places.
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Reuters cited three insider sources to substantiate these reports, which bodes well for League of Legends fans who have been anticipating a mobile app for several years. While League of Legends remains hugely popular, both for casual games and eSports players, its core gameplay can only be adapted in so many ways for desktop games. A mobile app could ensure that the game remains at the cutting edge of the industry. Just as Pokemon GO successfully brought the wider world of Pokemon to new levels of exposure, the League of Legends mobile app could reinforce the game's stature as one of the world's favourite eSports.
A leading eSport
The global appeal of League of Legends is reflected in eSport competitions. Major League of Legends tournaments have been held on almost every continent, while the biggest competitions attract viewing figures on a par with some of the most famous conventional sporting events. Global bookmakers also offer an increasing number of betting markets on League of Legends, which brings the game to audiences that may have otherwise been unaware of the game.
Tencent's success in developing some of the most popular mobile gaming apps in Asia will certainly have contributed to Riot Games' willingness to collaborate. Asiabet.org pays tribute to the work of Tencent, ranking two of their games among the top eSports mobile games to bet on in Asia. Honor of Kings and Arena of Valor share many gameplay similarities with League of Legends, with the former attracting upwards of a staggering 200 million monthly active users.
That reflects how many Asian gamers are more inclined to play mobile games than desktop versions. There are rumours of lingering concerns at Riot Games that League of Legends may struggle to maintain its current popularity, let alone continue to grow. This development of a mobile app could be what League of Legends needs to remain at the top, fending off newer competitors such as Fortnite.
An overdue development
Given that Tencent acquired complete control of Riot Games in December 2015, it is somewhat surprising that the relationship between the parent company and its subsidiary hasn't already produced a mobile app for League of Legends. While the reported development will excite many, that optimism should be contained for now. No clear timeframe has been established for the app's release, with the only clear indication from Reuters' sources being that the game would not be launched in 2019.
Failure to surpass those usage figures attracted by Honor of Kings would be deemed as a disappointment by both Tencent and Riot Games, but League of Legends is starting from a much more prestigious position. League of Legends lore is well established, so desktop users will likely be intrigued to see how familiar characters adapt to life on mobile.
Quite how League of Legends will work as a mobile app remains unclear, and it may remain unclear for months until Riot Games firm up a release date. Players may be competing on online leaderboards for monetary prizes, while bookmakers may even offer betting markets on the biggest mobile tournaments. Conversely, the app may be more about gaming with friends.
This is all speculation, but the news coming out of Tencent and Riot Games is encouraging for fans. Mobile apps may become the primary form of global gaming consumption in the coming years, so a League of Legends app would allow the legendary eSport to get slightly ahead of the curve.