UDPATE (May 21st): Riot's next game will be a mobile game, rumours suggest. There's not enough new information just yet to write a separate story on this, so we've added this rumour to our original article below.
ORIGINAL STORY (March 23rd):
Riot Games, the beautiful game developer which brought us that little-known title called League of Legends, looks like it will be launching its next game in 2017.
Buried in a financial report published by its parent company Tencent Holdings this week (which made $8 billion in profit in 2016, 38% more than it did in 2015), revealed the information in its 'Company Outlook and Strategies for 2017' section.
Tencent said in a statement: "During 2017, we intend to further our 'Connection' strategy by expanding our ecosystem around our core social and communication platforms via initiatives including:
"Expanding the popularity of our major smart phone games while adding new genre-driven PC games."
It added: "Our integrated PC game community, Tencent Game Platform, plays an important role in introducing new titles to gamers.
"Looking ahead, we will seek to deliver superior experiences to our users and to create business opportunities for our ecosystem partners through the further implementation of our 'Connection' strategy."
"During 2017, we intend to expand the popularity of our major smart phone games while adding new genre-driven PC games."
Esports News UK heard rumours last year that Riot Games has several games in the works right now - it's possible that five separate titles are in development.
Tencent also said that it 'strived to serve hardcore gamers better via attractive new content for existing titles', and said that by analysing customer behaviour through data mining, its 'paying user ratio' increased year-on-year.
What does that mean?
League of Legends is still making money, it's healthy and profitable. And Tencent is also doing well with its other games and smartphone games.
"We maintained our leadership as the largest game operator and publishing platform in China, operating all three top PC client games in China, namely League of Legends, Dungeon & Fighter and Cross Fire," Tencent commented.
"In particular, League of Legends ranked first globally among all PC client games in terms of revenue in 2016, according to SuperData."
Other recent reports suggest Tencent is looking to secure a $2 billion loan.
Fnatic's former League of Legends head coach, Luis "Deilor" Sevilla, wrote in Fnatic's book last year: "I honestly don't think that League of Legends will be here in 20 years.
"I guess a League of Legends 2 is the next step to take, to keep the game popular. But I don't know if Riot would do that, given that this game is being patched all the time anyway."
Further ENUK reading: ‘I don’t think League of Legends will be here in 20 years time’ – Deilor