Not content with owning one of the biggest and fastest-growing mobile platforms in the world with TikTok, ByteDance have acquired Mobile Legends devs Moonton.
ByteDance are no stranger to the world of gaming. In November 2020, they launched mobile game store Danjuan Games and indie publisher Pixmain. While a big step forward for the company, this acquisition of Moonton is monumental for ByteDance.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is arguably the biggest smartphone MOBA in the world in terms of pure download numbers, rivalling even the biggest games worldwide.
On Monday, March 22, ByteDance officially announced that their gaming division, Nuverse, has agreed to acquire the Shanghai-based studio.
The deal values Moonton at around $4 billion according to Reuters, and offers had also been made by Tencent to acquire their competitor.
“Through cross-team collaboration and drawing on lessons and insights from its own rapid growth, Moonton provides the strategic support needed to accelerate Nuverse’s global gaming offerings,” ByteDance said in a statement.
Sources also told Reuters that Yuan Jing, CEO of Moonton, sent a memo company-wide saying that they would continue to operate independently of ByteDance after the acquisition. Ultimately, this means that the actual development of the game is likely to be unaffected by ByteDance, which should provide comfort to both employees and customers alike.
Moonton was founded by an ex-Tencent employee, and since 2017 they have faced multiple lawsuits from both Tencent and Riot Games on the grounds of copyright infringement.
Of course, if it’s true that Tencent lost out after ByteDance matched their offer, it could symbolize a changing of the guard in the mobile gaming realm.
Tencent is without doubt one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, but now ByteDance are really looking to make their mark on the space.