Tencent is reportedly working on a version of Elden Ring for phones, according to three Reuters sources.
Tencent Holdings and Sony Interactive Entertainment paired up in 2022 to acquire nearly one-third of Elden Ring developer FromSoftware; Tencent owns 16.25% of FromSoftware’s shares, while Sony owns 14.09%. Everything else is held by FromSoftware parent company Kadokawa Corporation. At the time it made the investment, Tencent didn’t mention any potential projects, like, say, an Elden Ring mobile game. Tencent is the world’s biggest gaming company — it’s both a major player in China’s huge gaming market and has massive influence at publishers and developers outside of China, like League of Legends developer Riot Games, which was acquired by Tencent in 2015.
Elden Ring sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of 2022’s biggest games. Storied game-maker Hidetaka Miyazaki directed the game, with additional influence and worldbuilding from Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin. Elden Ring is a fantasy action game that takes place in an expansive, beautiful world called the Lands Between. Tencent intends to make Elden Ring “a free-to-play game with in-app purchases” in the style of miHoYo’s Genshin Impact, according to Reuters.
How will Elden Ring fit onto a phone screen, tied up with microtransactions? That’s not clear. Reuters said development has been slow for Elden Ring’s mobile version. Just days ago, Reuters reported that Tencent scrapped its Nier mobile game due to problems with its monetization strategy. Tencent has struggled to find a big hit based off existing IP since it published League of Legends: Wild Rift, and as a consequence its gaming business is struggling, according to Reuters. Tencent chairman Pony Ma said last week that the company feels left behind as competitors develop new, successful games — “leaving us feeling having achieved nothing,” he said.
Bringing premium games to mobile isn’t unheard of, however. Last year, Capcom put its Resident Evil 4 remake on phones. A portion of the game can be played for free, but it costs $59.99 for access to the whole game. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is available on iPhones, too, for $19.99. The big difference between these games and a potential Elden Ring port is the pricing structure; an upfront, bigger price tag is what players are used to for a premium experience like Elden Ring.
Neither Bandai Namco nor Tencent have responded to Polygon’s request for comment.
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