We wrote the blog at the beginning of the year that mobile esports could become the biggest trend of 2018. And it happened, but mostly in Asia. Mobile esports gathers a huge audience in China and Southeast Asia, often even more popular than traditional disciplines like Dota 2 or League of Legends. Arena of Valor (or King of Glory / Honour of Kings in China) is the most popular. The main tournament of the year of this discipline started recently, which will most likely set the new record of the maximum amount of viewers for the discipline. That is why we decided to write the blog about AoV to understand how big is it compare to the mastodons of the industry.
Arena of Valor as the esports discipline started in the summer of 2017 and immediately focused on Asia. For the most part, almost all tournaments were organized only for this region. Garena played a key role in the prosperity of Arena of Valor in Asia. Garena is the largest game publisher and tournament organizer in South-East Asia. This company also owns the popular streaming platform Garena.Live.
Garena organized a whole series of tournaments at the beginning of 2018: in Thailand — RoV Pro League Season 1, which gathered 215.852 viewers at the peak, in Taiwan — Garena Challenger Series 2018 with a maximum number of viewers 145.216 people. The biggest international last tournament was Arena of Valor World Cup 2018. There were teams from all regions, and Asians, of course, were the favorites and winners. The same can be said about the audience — all popular matches included the participation of Asian teams only. At the peak, there were 306.219 people during the grand final.
Garena holds a lot of qualification tournaments for Arena of Valor International Championship 2018. The most popular event turned out to be RoV Pro League Season 2 — the Thai tournament, which gathered 217.391 viewers at the peak. Arena of Glory Winter 2018 is not far away — the Vietnamese tournament, which was watched as much by 213.301 people at once at maximum. Garena Challenger Series Summer 2018 based in Taiwan and gathered 103,147 people at the peak. Curiously, more than half of the spectators were Vietnamese.
Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam are the main regions of the Arena of Valor, but they are not the only ones even in Asia. For example, Garena held separate qualifications for Indonesia, India, and China. The situation with China is quite curious the Chinese counterpart of this game (King of Glory) gathers millions of viewers, while the Arena of Valor is not very popular in the region.
Arena of Valor also tried to get the audience in the Western countries. For example, Arena of Valor: Gamescom 2017 was held in August 2017. Despite the participation of esports stars like Loda, Akke, and YellOwStaR, the tournament was not particularly successful — 24.311 people were at the peak.
All this does not mean that the organizers did not try to catch the wave of success in Western countries. For example, in August 2017, Arena of Valor: GamesCom 2017 took place. Despite the participation of e-sports stars like Loda, Akke, and YellOwStaR, the show tournament was not particularly successful - 24.311 people were at their peak. All further tournaments in Europe, North and South Americas, including qualifications for the Arena of Valor International Championship 2018, gathered about the same number of spectators. Thus the western market simply seems to be less promising compared with the Asian market. That is why the discipline develops here slowly.
Arena of Valor International Championship 2018 itself has grown significantly in terms of organization compared to World Cup. The number of participants increased from 12 to 16, the total length of the tournament increased from 4 days to 12. Organizers made an additional stage of the tournament — the Knockout Stage, from which the championship will begin. In addition, the tournament itself began to travel between countries: the Knockout Stage will be held in Vietnam and all subsequent stages in Thailand.
Thus we can say that the discipline has grown out of the swaddling clothes and has become serious competitors to the esports giants. For example, there are a lot of Vietnamese spectators of League of Legends — during Worlds 2018, there were more than 300.000 of them at their peak, which is not so much more compared to the Arena of Valor tournaments. The situation with the Thais is completely discouraging — at the peak of Worlds 2018, only 12,458 people of Thailand gathered, ten times less compared to the mobile championships.
Separately, it is worth recalling that in China the King of Glory is actively developing. This game is essentially an Arena of Valor in the design of the mythology of the Middle Kingdom. From the very first tournament, the discipline proved its profitability and popularity by regularly collecting millions of spectators. Right now we can say that the King of Glory is already more popular than Dota 2 in China, despite its huge popularity the Middle Kingdom.
Mobile games are more accessible and closer to people, as they can be played everywhere and anytime. That is why mobile esports has a huge potential audience in all regions in the future. Considering how much the industry has risen over the last year, it’s scary to imagine what will happen in a few years.