One of the esports juggernauts is not among the seven titles in the 2023 Asian Games. Here’s a few possible reasons why.
For the first time in history, the Asian Games will officially field not one but seven esports titles. However, one esports juggernaut is missing from the line-up: Mobile Legends Bang Bang (MLBB). The most popular mobile title, MLBB, is not included in the 2023 Asian Games, and we've got the reasons why:
Read more about the 2023 Asian Games overview:
Mobile Legends is arguably the mobile game out there. It has reached over a billion downloads and more than 100M peak players per month. Its esports viewership has just as incredible numbers as its player base. The Indonesian (ID) MPL (Mobile Legends Professional League) has a peak views of 2.84 million and that's only from one region. Its highest peak views were during the M4 World Championship which garnered over 4.2 million views.
Mobile Legends was also recently a part of the 32nd SEA Games. But in this championship, we are not going to see the giant mobile esports. Here is a possible reason as to why Mobile Legends is not in the 2023 Asian Games esports lineup:
Mobile Legends just arrived in China
For the past few years, the mobile MOBA has been dominating the SEA region. But Mobile Legends has been absent from China as it wasn't even launched there. This is due to China's strict laws and censorship which caused Moonton, the publisher of Mobile Legends, to not have a publishing license.
Only recently, on April 18, China approved Mobile Legends' entry into the nation. However, it will be called a different name - just like how PUBG is called Peacekeeper Elite in China. With China only recently bringing Mobile Legends into its territory, the MLBB competitive scene has yet to grow and this may explain its absence from the 2023 Asian Games.
A threat to Arena of Valor
Another reason could be due to competition. Arena of Valor is a mobile MOBA that is developed by Chinese developer, TiMi Studio Group, a subsidiary of Tencent Games. The game is also called Honor of Kings in China.
Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends are very similar in nature. In fact, many people call AoV "China's Mobile Legends". Both are mobile esports and play out the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre. It is clear that both games may clash as they are very similar.
Despite Mobile Legends being the more popular esports, Arena of Valor is picked to join the lineup of the 2023 Asian Games. AoV is more popular than Mobile Legends in China and this game is also quickly making its way into the SEA scene.
AoV recently reached a peak viewership of 900K+ during the Arena of Valor Premier League 2023 and China may look forward to further expand its popularity with AoV featured in the Asian Games.