ByteDance Buys Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Dev Moonton Technology

Mobile Legends Bang Bang Moonton

ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, a video-sharing social networking app, has acquired Moonton Technology.

Moonton Technology is based in Shanghai, China, and developed the mobile MOBA Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Reuters, citing two anonymous sources, put the deal at about $4 billion, though ByteDance declined to provide further details. 

Beijing-based, ByteDance confirmed the acquisition and released a statement saying, “Through cross-team collaboration and drawing on lessons and insights from its own rapid growth, Moonton provides the strategic support needed to accelerate Nuverse’s global gaming offerings.”

Moonton Technology CEO Yuan Jing, in an internal memo, said that there wouldn’t be any major operational changes after the acquisition, and the studio would operate independently from ByteDance.

Founded in 2014, Moonton Technology made its splash into the mobile gaming scene in 2016. It released its first multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) title, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, for iOS and Android devices.

Soon after its launch, Moonton was sued by rival League of Legends developer Riot Games. Riot claimed Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a clone of League of Legends. Riot won the lawsuit in 2018, with Tencent, its parent company, being awarded $2.89 million.

MOBA games have become lucrative propositions in recent times as more players are spending on the in-game purchases. Tencent’s two best-known MOBA games, League of Legends, and Honor of Kings, have been incredibly profitable for the biggest video games and social media conglomerate in China.  The acquisition of Moonton means that now ByteDance has a MOBA game that will compete directly with Tencent’s titans.

Prior to acquiring Moonton, ByteDance attempted to make its foray into games. In November 2020, the company announced its games publishing division, Pixmain, and Danjuan Games, a casual gaming platform. Earlier to the event, the company acquired game studios Nuverse PixDance, and Ohayoo.

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