Mobile esports, while still in its early growth phase in the West, has been absolutely massive in China. Much has already been documented about the success of China’s top grossing mobile game Honor of Kings, but other Tencent titles such as FPS shooter Crossfire Mobile and Side-scrolling fighter Naruto Mobile (yes, that of the popular manga/anime) have also blossomed with their own mobile esports tournament scene.
While these games can not be found on Google Play, Android user can actually easily download these games and experience China’s mobile esports scene through Tencent’s mighty mobile app WeChat. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to get Tencent games installed on your Android device:
1) Download WeChat directly from your mobile browser
First, download the latest WeChat apk file from the official WeChat homepage and install it on your Android device. Note that you must download WeChat from the browser page and not Google Play – the international Google Play version of WeChat does not support WeChat Games and many other built-in functions and features. Be sure to set your device permission to allow for installation of 3rd party Android apps on your phone settings. Don’t worry if you already have the Google Play version of WeChat installed – the new version will simply update your current app and not erase any existing information.
2) Click on the Games section on your Discovery tab
The Discovery tab is essentially WeChat’s in-app social media feature, but it is also where you can find a comprehensive mobile game discovery platform. Click into the games section to access the library of Tencent mobile games that can not be found on the Google Play store.
3) Filter through the game categories and download games directly onto your device
The WeChat Games platform separates games into 6 categories: RPG, PvP, Action, Casual, Card, and Single Player. Click into any of the categories (or simply scroll down for their recommended selection), click on the Get/Download button, and wait for the game(s) to be installed! Once again, make sure that your device permission is set to allow for installation of 3rd party Android apps.
The WeChat games platform is much more than just an app store front. Within each game page, you can directly access the game’s official social media feeds, community posts, and even esports live streams and content! While much of the observation/critique on Honor of Kings has been focused on the game itself, a major reason for the game’s success in China is its deep integration within the WeChat platform. With just a few clicks, I was able to access a live stream of the latest KPL (King Pro League) competition along with full scoreboard and results. If you happen to have other friends playing the same game and also have WeChat installed, you will be able to see their scores/rankings and instantly invite them to game sessions.
Even if you can not read any Chinese, it is still worthwhile for you to try out this platform to see how Tencent is taking mobile esports to the next level in China. Have fun checking out the new games!