Tencent has Call of Duty and Game of Thrones but gamers don’t care
Gamers think Tencent’s Timi Studio spells trouble for Call of Duty Mobile
Tencent is bringing some of the biggest IPs to mobile this year, recently releasing the trailers for Call of Duty Mobile and a Game of Thrones smartphone game. But Chinese gamers are far from thrilled.
Why? Take Call of Duty Mobile. It’s a free-to-play game developed by Activision Blizzard and Tencent’s own Timi Studio. But gamers seem to believe that Timi Studio’s involvement will only lower the game’s quality.
“Timi! It has ruined quite a number of games 😭. Maybe you can leave COD alone…” one Weibo user wrote.
“Timi… This is looking like a pay-to-win game already,” another Weibo user added.
What do they mean by Timi ruining games? Consider Timi’s Contra: Return. The studio took the classic one-hit-kill, run-and-gun arcade game and turned it into a pay-to-win title in which fighters can auto-aim and have health bars (oh, and they inserted schoolgirls to fight alongside Bill and Lance).
Contra: Return is not the only game that has given Timi a bad reputation. Gamers also frown upon many other games for being clones of foreign hits. For instance, QQ Speed Drifters and Crossfire essentially started as knockoffs of Mario Kart and Counter-Strike.
But that’s not to say Timi isn’t successful, or that it doesn’t make popular games. On the contrary, Honor of Kings, known as Arena of Valor in the West, is China’s most popular game. It raked in a mind-boggling US$2 billion in revenue last year, according to Sensor Tower. But again, even that is effectively a mobile clone of League of Legends.
In addition to Call of Duty Mobile, Tencent will also publish a mobile game titled Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming, with the game’s actual development managed by Yoozoo. While Tencent said very little about the game, its trailers showed that it will likely be a rather generic simulation game.
A popular Weibo comment sarcastically wrote, “If you top up with 99 yuan for the first time, the game will immediately reward you with three dragons. Top up with 199 yuan the second time -- you now have the Iron Throne.”
Coincidentally, what appears to be a browser version of the game was just launched, and it seems to confirm all the worries that gamers have. This browser game, which goes by the same name, recently went live on Yoozoo’s own online platform Gtarcade. From character design to gameplay, it looks identical to what Tencent teased in its trailer.
Yoozoo’s Kelly Jiang said this browser game is aimed at serving overseas players, while Tencent has the rights to the mobile game in China.
(If you still wonder how a cheap simulation game can ruin a classic IP, watch us painfully play Tencent’s Red Alert Online here)
While Call of Duty Online and Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming have drawn a lot of eyeballs at Tencent’s conference over the weekend, the Shenzhen-based company also announced a slate of other games, including what looks like an H1Z1 mobile clone and a multiplayer shooter on PC.
The multiplayer shooter, titled Land Next, is introduced along with an audacious URL -- aaa.qq.com. Many gamers believe this to be Tencent branding Land Next as China’s first AAA game.
Judging by the game’s trailer, it looks Tencent has a long way to go.