Tencent is reportedly working on a free-to-play mobile version of FromSoftware’s 2022 smash hit title Elden Ring. That’s according to Reuters, which cites three people familiar with the company’s plans. The Chinese tech giant apparently has a team of “a few dozen people” who’ve been working on the title after Tencent Holdings acquired a stake of a little over 16 percent of FromSoftware in August 2022. Tencent did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.
If the report is accurate, Elden Ring would be the latest in a long line of major game IPs licensed by Tencent to create mobile free-to-play versions. Among the most successful of these have been PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, but Tencent and its subsidiaries are also working on mobile versions of Need for Speed and Assassin’s Creed.
Despite their big names, success with these mobile titles is far from guaranteed. Reuters previously reported that licensing deals like this can carry royalty fees of between 15 and 20 percent of sales, which need to be paid alongside platform fees like Apple’s up to 30 percent commission.
Tencent shut down a mobile version of Apex Legends last year which it developed in collaboration with EA. It also reportedly canceled an unannounced mobile game based on the Nier franchise over monetization concerns, despite having poured two years of development into the title. Tencent may face similar challenges attempting to fit a large and primarily single-player experience like Elden Ring into a free-to-play format.
Reports of a mobile version of Elden Ring come as Tencent is facing fierce competition from Chinese rivals miHoYo and NetEase, developers of titles like Genshin Impact and Eggy Party. “Gaming is our flagship business…But in the past year, we have faced significant challenges,” Tencent’s chief executive and co-founder Pony Ma said during the company’s recent annual meeting in Shenzhen. “We have found ourselves at a loss, as our competitors continue to produce new products, leaving us feeling having achieved nothing.” In response, Ma said that Tencent is focusing on integrating its Hunyuan AI model into different parts of its business to increase efficiency, Reuters reported.