Tencent’s Call of Duty: Mobile racks up 250 million downloads over nine months in challenge to PUBG


  • Video games
  • Thursday, 25 Jun 2020

Call Of Duty: Mobile’s stellar performance shows it could potentially become more successful than PUBG Mobile, another shooting game Tencent adapted from the PC platform. — Handout via South China Morning Post

Tencent Holdings’ Call Of Duty: Mobile has racked up 250 million downloads worldwide in under nine months, showing potential to become the most successful game on a mobile platform, according to data from app tracking firm Sensor Tower.

Developed by Tencent’s TiMi Studios under a license from Activision-Blizzard, Call Of Duty: Mobile reached the milestone just 265 days after launch even though it remains unavailable in China. To date, the game has amassed almost US$327mil (RM1.4bil) in player spending globally and now exceeds the downloads and revenue earned in the early days of Tencent’s PUBG Mobile, which has held the title of the world’s most profitable mobile game for the past nine months.

Call Of Duty: Mobile’s success is another example of Tencent’s global expansion in the gaming sector paying dividends. The Chinese company’s strategy is to partner with international gaming firms such as Activision-Blizzard and PUBG Corp to turn traditional big-ticket console and PC games into mobile titles. The Shenzhen-based company aims to have half of its gaming revenue from overseas markets in the future.

“I think there’s still potential for Tencent and Activision to vastly increase not only the number of (Call Of Duty: Mobile) users, but also the average spending across the board,” said Daniel Camilo, business developer at app publishing firm APPTUTTi.

The United States accounted for nearly 45 million downloads of the game, equal to 18% of the total, while US players contributed US$134mil (RM573mil) in spending to date, equal to 41% of the worldwide total, according to Sensor Tower.

Japan, Brazil and India are the other big markets for the game, with India and Brazil seeing the most downloads outside the United States and Japan and Brazil ranking second and third in terms of revenue.

Boosted by large numbers of people staying at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, May was the second best month for Call Of Duty: Mobile with revenue of nearly US$53mil (RM227mil), just behind the US$55mil (RM235mil) it grossed in its launch month of October last year.

Call Of Duty: Mobile’s stellar performance shows it could potentially become more successful than PUBG Mobile, another shooting game Tencent adapted from the PC platform. While the latter is still the world’s most profitable mobile game with revenue of US$226mil (RM967mil) in May alone, Call Of Duty: Mobile’s first nine months were better.

Whether Call Of Duty: Mobile can mount a serious challenge will largely depend on securing a release in China, which is expected to reclaim the title of world’s largest gaming market this year. PUBG Mobile’s revenue more than doubled last May when its Chinese version Peacekeeper Elite was launched.

There has been no public announcement from Activision or Tencent about a China release. Tencent declined to comment when contacted by the Post.

“Without China, Call Of Duty: Mobile will hit its potential ceiling that much quicker,” Camilo said. “But even without China, I think 500 million downloads is not an unrealistic target.”

Tencent kick-started its global expansion campaign in earnest last year after the company, which also operates the WeChat super-app, heavily rebranded its gaming business with an English slogan.

Tencent Games senior vice president Steve Ma said the company hopes half of its users and revenue will come from outside China in the near future. International titles accounted for 23% of Tencent’s total online games revenue in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the company. – South China Morning Post

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