Tencent is reportedly in the process of developing a free-to-play mobile version of FromSoftware’s blockbuster title, Elden Ring, as reported by Reuters, citing insights from three individuals familiar with Tencent’s plans. This initiative follows Tencent Holdings’ acquisition of a stake exceeding 16 percent in FromSoftware in August 2022.
Crafted through the collaboration of Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin and seasoned game designer Hidetaka Miyazaki, Elden Ring stands as an action-packed gaming experience immersed in a fantastical realm, pitting players against mythical monsters. Unveiled to the gaming community in 2022 with a price tag of $60, the title achieved remarkable success by selling approximately 20 million copies within its inaugural year. This remarkable feat positioned Elden Ring as the second best-selling game globally for the year.
If the reports hold true, Elden Ring will join the ranks of major gaming franchises that Tencent has successfully adapted into mobile free-to-play versions. Notable examples include PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, with ongoing projects featuring Need for Speed and Assassin’s Creed. However, the road to success in the mobile gaming arena is fraught with challenges, as licensing deals often incur royalty fees ranging from 15 to 20 percent of sales, coupled with platform fees such as Apple’s up to 30 percent commission, as per previous Reuters insights.
Tencent’s mobile gaming endeavors have not been without hurdles, with the closure of a mobile version of Apex Legends last year, developed in collaboration with EA. Additionally, an unannounced mobile game based on the Nier franchise faced cancellation over monetization concerns, despite two years of development investment. Adapting a large, primarily single-player experience like Elden Ring into a free-to-play format presents similar challenges for Tencent.
This development coincides with Tencent’s fierce competition from Chinese rivals miHoYo and NetEase, creators of popular titles Genshin Impact and Eggy Party. Tencent’s Chief Executive and Co-founder, Pony Ma, acknowledged the challenges during the recent annual meeting in Shenzhen, stating, “Gaming is our flagship business… But in the past year, we have faced significant challenges.” To address this, Tencent is shifting focus towards integrating its Hunyuan AI model into various aspects of the business, aiming to enhance efficiency, as reported by Reuters.
The mobile adaptation of Elden Ring represents Tencent’s strategic maneuver in a rapidly evolving gaming landscape, aiming to maintain its competitive edge amidst growing industry competition.