We predict that Clash of Clans will soon morph into an eSport, changing Clash of Clans for the elite and providing huge opportunities for the very best. This is already a reality for other mobile games, including those owned by Tencent, a Chinese Internet giant who are attempting to purchase Supercell.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese Tech giant Tencent is looking to acquire the majority stake in Supercell. The big question is, if successful how will this effect Clash of Clans. Tencent is a giant in mobile gaming and we suspect huge changes await.

A look at Tencent

Tencent is huge, in 2015 Forbes ranked it globally at 304. Tencent has deep pockets, very deep. A market cap of $181 billion, makes Supercell look tiny in comparison.

Tencent is the developer of WeChat and QQ. WeChat has 697 million monthly active users and the mobile version of QQ had 641.5 million users. Tencent like Facebook is experimenting with ways to monetize these customers. One solution is to offer more of their own content, generating income without flooding customers with too many adverts. Mobile gaming neatly fits this model.

In 2015, Tencent Holdings completed its acquisition of Riot Games, the developer behind the world’s top eSports game, League of Legends. Tencent also have significant shareholdings in US gaming developers Activision Blizzard and Epic Games.

Wallstreet journalLeague of Legends

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League of Legends live. Picture Furtune.com

Tencent invested in Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends in 2009 after previously signing a Chinese distribution deal in 2008. According to research firm Newzoo, there are 40 million Chinese and globally 85 million active users of League of Legends.

In the mobile gaming market, it is believed that Tencent has three main priorities:

  • growing its share of the Western games market
  • growing the global mobile games market
  • and dominating eSports in China.

What is an eSport?

eSports is competitive online gaming, two of the most popular eSports are League of Legends and DOTA2. In 2013, it was estimated that approximately 71.5 million people worldwide watched competitive gaming online. Some 205 million people watched or played eSports in 2014.

The biggest eSport events draw audiences to rival the biggest traditional sporting events. It is not unusual for 100,000 online viewers to watch a popular event.

The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms, including YouTube and Twitch.tv, has enabled the growth of eSports competitions. Huge multinational sponsors have noticed the trend and companies like Coke and Nissan have joined Logitech and Red Bull as tournament sponsors.

The League of Legends Championship sold out Staples Center in 2013, then sold out the 40,000-seat World Cup Stadium in Seoul a year later while drawing an online audience of 27 million.

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The scene at the league of legends World Championship in 2015. courtesy Riot Games

How big is E-sports?

League of Legends tournaments in 2015 are estimated to pay out over $7 million in prize money. DOTA 2, has already paid out over $7.5 million in 2016, and in total has paid out over $205 million in prize money.

In comparison, the Wimbledon first prize is $2.9 million, the Masters is around $9 million, and the Super Bowl awards $10 million. eSports is big business.

$1m salaries for top players

Top eSports players can earn upwards of $1m a year, with the largest tournaments alone offering a $1m first prize. In 2016, the following earnings have been won by the top players.

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Data from esportsearnings.com

eSports is also a team affair, this is highly competitive and a full time occupation. The teams competing in regional as well as international tournaments. The prize money for the teams is also impressive.

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Data from esportsearnings.com

Clash of Clans & eSports

Roll back to October 2015, Supercell were hosting ClashCon in Helsinki. This was a day long broadcast with the live Clash of Clans tournament featuring heavily. Was this Supercell dipping their toe into the eSports arena?

Tencent on the other hand are masters of eSports and almost overnight could propel Clash of Clans onto the eSports big stage. Tancent through League of Legends and Call of Duty (Activision Blizzard), brings all the experience necessary to transform high end Clash of Clans gaming.

Only the elite would make their fortune. It would however drive many others, possibly millions to better themselves and aim for glory in the regional/country level tournaments.  Previously, there was one big stumbling block, modding in Clash of Clans was rife, not any more.

If Tancent is successful in purchasing the majority shareholdings in Supercell, a bright future on the big stage is a real proposition. Anyone out there want to make a million bucks?

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