Call of Duty: Mobile Maker Timi Studios Made About 73,400 Crores in 2020, Banking on Online Gaming Boom

Chinese tech giant Tencent’s Timi Studios, maker of popular video games Call of Duty Mobile, generated revenue of $10 billion (roughly Rs 73,400 crores) last year, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The $10 billion would make Timi the world’s largest developer, the sources told Reuters, which many industry watchers had suspected to be the case. It is not known as to what metric they have used to determine this. It also provides a hefty basis for its ambitions to move beyond mobile games and compete directly with global heavyweights developing expensive “AAA” titles on platforms such as desktop computers, Sony’s PlayStation, Nintendo’s Switch, and Microsoft’s Xbox.

In a recruitment notice last month, a Timi engineer wrote that the company aims to create a new AAA game that resembles the virtual community from the movie Ready Player One, and will “compete head-to-head against big powers from Japan, Korea, Europe, and US.” Tencent is building studios overseas, including one for Timi and one for Lightspeed and Quantum, both in Los Angeles, with the goal of creating content with original intellectual property that has global appeal. Tencent aims eventually to derive half its game revenue from overseas, from 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, the most recently available figure.

Many major studios are turning to Tencent for support to convert their “hardcore” desktop or console games to mobile. Such games feature long sessions and in-depth storytelling or battles, with some including multiplayer online role-playing or online battle arenas. Last week, Tencent reported CNY 156.1 billion (roughly Rs 1.74 lakh crores) in overall online game revenues for 2020 but did not break down revenue for individual studios, which are run independently and compete with each other.

Timi’s proceeds accounted for 40 percetn of the game revenue, said the two people. Of Tencent’s remaining gaming revenue last year, its Lightspeed and Quantum studio, the developer of PUBG Mobile, another top-grossing game, contributed 29 percent, the people said, while 26% was proceeds from publishing for other developers. Aurora Studios Group, boosted by its Moonlight Blade Mobile title, contributed 3%, the people said.

The sources declined to be identified because the information is not public. Tencent did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Tencent, which has benefited from a surge in paying gamers, said last week its online games revenue rose 29 percent to CNY 39.1 billion in the fourth quarter.