TikTok Owner ByteDance Acquires Mobile Legends Developer Moonton

The social media giant is making serious inroads into the gaming space

Published: March 22, 2021 10:20 AM /


The ByteDance and Moonton logos

TikTok owner ByteDance has acquired Moonton, the developer of mobile MOBA Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. The Shanghai studio marks the latest in a series of investments made by ByteDance in the gaming sphere.

What do we know about the ByteDance Moonton acquisition?

This news comes to us via gaming analyst Daniel Ahmad (tweeting as @ZhugeEX). In a tweet, Ahmad revealed the ByteDance acquisition of Moonton and called the deal "one of the biggest acquisitions of the year". According to Ahmad's analysis firm Niko Partners, Mobile Legends is one of the most popular mobile MOBAs, with over 90 million active monthly users and almost $1 billion revenue raked in. This despite a 2018 controversy which saw Moonton settle out-of-court with Riot Games over plagiarism.

A gameplay shot of popular mobile MOBA Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a phenomenally popular mobile MOBA, which is probably why ByteDance has acquired developer Moonton.

According to TechCrunch, ByteDance has gone on a gaming recruitment spree, shoring up its employees in this department by around 2,000 this year alone and bringing its total number of gaming staff to 3,000. That's a pretty remarkable number; China's third-biggest gaming company 37 Interactive has 4,000 staff, and it took around ten years for 37 Interactive to reach this point. TechCrunch says ByteDance reached 3,000 staff in five years, which is pretty phenomenal in terms of growth rates. Perhaps we should expect nothing less from the company that took TikTok to global dominance in just a few short years.

How will ByteDance compete with gaming giants like Tencent?

Having put itself at the forefront of social media, ByteDance now seems to be hoping to go up against Chinese gaming giants like Tencent. It hopes to do this by making a large number of acquisitions, buying up at least six companies in full and investing heavily in at least eleven. In the TechCrunch article, a Beijing-based headhunter says growth is relatively stagnant at companies like Tencent and Alibaba, whereas ByteDance is "still in a fast-growth phase". It's likely the Chinese startup will use this momentum to move further and faster into the gaming space.

We still don't know what effect ByteDance's entry into the gaming space will have on gaming as a whole. Expect to see the company's name on lots more games in the near future, though. Of course, we'll bring you more on the TikTok giant's activities in the gaming space as soon as we get it. Watch this space for more info. Until then, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has a new overlord, but the developers haven't changed, so it'll still be the same game you know and love (or hate to love, given that it's a MOBA).

How do you feel about this acquisition? Are you still playing Mobile Legends? Let us know in the comments below!

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net

Joe Allen's profile picture
| Senior Writer

Joe has been writing for TechRaptor for several years, and in those years has learned a lot about the gaming industry and its foibles. He’s originally an… More about Joseph