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Why King of Glory Is So Successful In Chinese Mobile Market

King of Glory Poster


At this point, many people probably have heard of the mobile game King of Glory published by Tencent Games (Sometimes called Glory of Kings). If you haven’t, King of Glory is a MOBA game run on mobile platforms with over 200 million registered users and 50 million people playing this game daily. The most surprising part is that King of Glory is only published in China, which means that it has not been released in the Asia or western market. This also means that one-sixth of the population has played this game at some point in China. So how does one single game have enough power and influence to gather so many players together to continue playing it for the last 2 years? Right here I will talk about my individual opinions and understanding of this question.

The first reason those who familiar with video game industry might think the immediately is that King of Glory is published by Tencent. I agree that this alone will bring hundreds of thousands if not millions of users to the game. To be more specific, Tencent Games dominated the Chinese internet market for the last two decades. Its instant messaging software QQ has over 600 million users and its social media app WeChat has over 800 million users. I believe it’s safe to say everyone uses the internet has either WeChat or QQ account, or probably both. With these many users already using Tencent software, Tencent was able to promote Glory of King within its existing networks. So, the game reached out to a lot more people than it could otherwise. And the best part is, Tencent allow players to log in King of Glory with their existing WeChat or QQ accounts, making the game ten times more inviting to new players.

King of Glory Mid Lane Screenshot


The second reason for this game’s success is that it is actually a decent game which copies the most popular MOBA game League of Legend. Personally I don't like the strategy the game developer made. In fact, King of Glory is a mobile version of League of Legend with a few reskin and remodeling. If you put two games side by side, many people might not be able to tell the differences. Fortunately for Tencent, this kind of market actions are allowed in China, and apparently Riot has no problem with this either. The point is Glory of King is not a bad game so it should be doing fine in the market on its own.

The third reason, perhaps the most important one, is that King of Glory has become a networking platform for a lot of players in China. Believe me when I say this, many players found themselves playing Glory of King not to have fun, but to network with their co-workers and managers. One of my friends working at Ping An Insurance in Shanghai told me that his group leader and his manager play King of Glory on a regular basis. Interestingly, my friend is a Dota player (think about the rivalry between Dota and Lol) and he never enjoys League or King of Glory. But he feels obligated to play this game with his manager after work every day to maintain a good relationship between them. My friend is not the only person doing this right now. There are millions of people playing a game to connect with important personnel, to get a discount on restaurant bills (yes, some restaurant offer a discount to players hitting certain MMR in King of Glory), or to start a romantic relationship. This game has truly become a social platform and that’s why it was able to grow exponentially.

Marketing Action Based Around King of Glory (restaurant offering discount to high rank players)


The final reason for King of Glory's success is also a sad one. I believe there weren’t many great mobile games in China. Because of the internet control policy in China, popular games in western market are unable to enter China. On the other hand, existing locally developed games have low quality and abuse F2P model to mill the last dime out of players’ pocket. So when King of Glory was released, many people were stunned by its quality and its fairness in the pricing and game balance. So it quickly became a huge hit.

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What have we learn from the success of King of Glory? My personal take is that building a community for a game is much more important than the game itself. We always say games are more fun with friends. In this case, if everyone around you start playing a certain game, you will probably join them as well, regardless you like the game or not.

© 2017 Shimu Wang

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