Chinese market research company Analysis published a report suggesting MOBA’s decline in popularity among Chinese players. Since 2018, MOBA has moved from the first to the third place in the mobile gaming category. Players’ preferences now lie with first-person shooters and simulation games, both of which attract lots of female users.
The report specifically looks at Honor of Kings, known outside of China as Arena of Valor. This MOBA mobile game had 200 million players at its peak. Since the last year, 34% of its active monthly users have dropped the game. The time spent playing it has also decreased by half. It’s an important indicator for the genre in general, as 98% of MOBA gamers play Honor of Kings.
That is not to say that MOBA’s chips are down. Chinese mobile gaming industry is under a lot of pressure from the government. In response to the officials’ call for healthy gaming, Tencent had to impose daily play time limits on many of its titles, including Honor of Kings. In the rest of the world, the genre will not have the same regulatory roadblocks.
Plus, even with some losses in its user base, Honor of Kings still enjoys around 169 million monthly active users. In 2018, it grossed nearly $2 Billion. With casual players now turning to other genres, MOBA as a genre might want to shift its focus to hardcore gamers.