ByteDance has acquired mobile gaming studio, Moonton, in a bid to further expand into its video games business. Moonton is a mobile gaming studio, which has developed games like Magic Rush and the Mobile Legends series for iOS and Android. The acquisition was led by ByteDance’s gaming arm Nuverse, which has developed games like Strike Royale, Portal Man and more.
ByteDance said that “Moonton is the perfect partner to help expand our gaming strategy in international markets.” According to a Reuters report citing two unnamed sources, Moonton has been valued at $4 billion. ByteDance has declined to comment on the value of the deal.
The report also stated that Yuan Jing, CEO of Moonton addressing his employees in an internal memo stated that Moonton will continue to operate independently after the acquisition and it will not be integrated into Nuverse.
ByteDance looking to strengthen its gaming division
The report further stated that Tencent was also in the running to acquire Moonton, but was unsuccessful in doing so. Apart from this, it is being speculated that ByteDance is looking to acquire other game studios also to take on Tencent.
Moonton’s acquisition will add a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game to ByteDance’s game list helping it compete with Tencent’s Honor of Kings and League of Legends, both of which are currently cash cows for the company. However, keep in mind that since 2017 both Tencent and Riot Games have filed multiple copyright infringement lawsuits against Moonton.
Moonton’s Mobile Legends is extremely popular in Southeast Asia. To further its popularity, ByteDance could look to leverage its popular short video app Douyin in China and TikTok in international markets. The company could use its social media platform to promote games and attract users. This will help the company popularise the game in markets like China and the US, where Honor of Kings and League of Legends: Wild Rift are the dominant MOBA titles.