Elden Ring – coming soon to mobile? (Picture: Bandai Namco)
Chinese publisher Tencent is trying to make a free-to-play version of Elden Ring that will be filled with microtransactions.
After buying Activision Blizzard, Microsoft may now be the biggest games company in the West but the biggest in the world is Tencent – even though many people outside of Asia have probably never even heard of them.
In order to change that, Tencent often helps produce mobile versions of popular Western games, such as Call Of Duty and PUBG: Battlegrounds. But now they’re tackling something a bit different: a mobile version of Elden Ring.
Considering the complexity of FromSoftware’s original version that seems a tall order but apparently Tencent are using open world hit Genshin Impact as inspiration, including in terms of monetisation.
No official announcement has been made, but Tencent acquired the licence in 2022, at the same time as it bought a 16.25% stake in FromSoftware (the other stakeholders are Sony on 14.09% and Japanese media company Kadokawa Corporation on 69.66%).
A small team was set up at that point, to make a prototype, but according to Reuters progress has been slow, which hardly seems surprising.
Like most Tencent mobile titles, the game is intended to be free-to-play with in-app purchases, which might be similar to Genshin Impact but is the complete opposite to the original version of Elden Ring.
There is a chance the game might never happen though, as Tencent recently cancelled an attempt to make a mobile version of cult classic NieR, because they couldn’t work out how to monetise it.
Despite their size, Tencent had a bad 2022, with growth slowing and no major new hits. Unlike Western companies, it is also subject to constantly changing regulations governing games in China.
The company saw $40 billion wiped off its value just before Christmas, due to a change in the law, although that was quickly reversed and the official responsible removed from his position.
As for Elden Ring, there is still great confusion as to when it’s much anticipated new DLC expansion will be released.
All recent rumours point towards a February release and yet publisher Bandai Namco is yet to make any announcement, after the game failed to appear at both Microsoft and Sony’s recent preview events.
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