Tencent is reportedly working on a mobile free-to-play version of FromSoftware’s hit 2022 game Elden Ring. This is reported by Reuters, citing three people familiar with the company’s plans. The Chinese tech giant apparently has a team of “a few dozen people” working on the game after Tencent Holdings acquired just over 16% of FromSoftware in August 2022.
If the rumors turn out to be true, Elden Ring will be the latest in a long line of major game IPs licensed by Tencent to create mobile free-to-play versions. The most successful of these have been PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, but Tencent and its subsidiaries are also working on mobile versions of Need for Speed and Assassin’s Creed.
Despite the big names, the success of these mobile games is far from guaranteed. Such licensing deals can involve royalties of 15 to 20 percent of sales, which must be paid along with commissions for platforms like Apple, which are as high as 30 percent.
For example, last year Tencent shut down the mobile version of Apex Legends, which it was developing in partnership with EA. It also reportedly canceled an unannounced mobile game based on the Nier franchise due to monetization issues, despite spending two years developing the game. Tencent may face similar problems trying to fit a large and predominantly single-player game like Elden Ring into a free-to-play format.
Reports of a mobile version of Elden Ring come at a time when Tencent is facing stiff competition from Chinese rivals miHoYo and NetEase, developers of games such as Genshin Impact and Eggy Party. “The gaming business is our flagship business … But last year we faced serious challenges,” Tencent CEO and co-founder Pony Ma said at the company’s recent annual meeting in Shenzhen. “We were at a loss as our competitors continue to launch new products and we feel we have achieved nothing.” In response, Ma said Tencent was focusing on integrating its Hunyuan artificial intelligence model into different parts of its business to improve efficiency, Reuters reported.
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