Mobile MOBAs are a hard sell with gamers in the United States, as evidenced by recent news that the world's most lucrative video game, Tencent's Honor of Kings, is losing support from its publisher in the region, where it's known as Arena of Valor. Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data shows that just one of the top 10 titles in the genre, Moonton's Mobile Legends, is experiencing revenue growth in the market.
U.S. player spending in Mobile Legends grew 33 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019, reaching an estimated $5.8 million according to our data. By comparison, spending in Arena of Valor, which was the No. 2 highest grossing mobile MOBA on U.S. App Store during the quarter, was flat Y/Y at approximately $1.3 million, or about 22 percent of Mobile Legends' revenue.
Vainglory from Super Evil Megacorp, the No. 3 grossing title in the genre among U.S. players last quarter, saw its revenue decline 62 percent Y/Y to an estimated $420,000 after reaching $1.1 million during the first quarter of 2018.
Mobile Legends has grossed approximately $42 million across the U.S. App Store and Google Play since launching in the region during Q4 2016. Still, even as the most successful mobile MOBA in the U.S., Moonton's title illustrates the genre's struggle to gain traction in the market. Only about 12 percent of the title's total global revenue of more than $350 million originates from U.S. players, with the largest portion coming from Malaysia and Indonesia, which have accounted for a combined 35 percent of spending.
The situation with Arena of Valor, by comparison, is even more telling. In its case, the U.S. only accounted for 0.4 percent of all player spending last quarter, or $1.3 million of the estimated $346 million the title grossed, not including Android in China.