Are Mobile eSports the Next Big Thing in Gaming?
Mobile devices have taken over the market in many sectors – from simply serving our communication needs, smartphones and tablets have grown to become an essential aspect of our lifestyle. Now it seems that they are taking over the industry of competitive video gaming known as eSports.
MOBA Mobile Games Lead the Way
The latest trend in the mobile world is entertainment – from streaming the latest episode of our favorite TV series on Netflix while we commute, to playing Candy Crush on the go, mobile devices have arrived at the perfect time to suit our hectic lifestyles. Meanwhile, gaming is going through a truly golden era, with new players joining the worldwide gaming community every day, while even online betting sites like Betway offer the option to bet on the outcome of eSports competitions for major MOBA games like Dota 2 or League of Legends, allowing people to place bets on players like Virtus Pro and Evil Geniuses, proving that eSports have really established itself as a rising market. In fact, it looks like mobile gaming is going to become the major gaming platform in the near future, as it is estimated that by 2020 they will account for over 50% of all games revenue – which will rise to $143.5 billion by then, while it is projected to reach $125.4 billion in 2018 and $134.5 billion in 2019.
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Like regular sports, the eSports world includes professional players, favourite games and a huge prize pool. The first one of its kind in mobile eSports – that also gave out the biggest prize to date – has been Turbo Racing League. According to e-Sports Earnings, 4 of the top 5 spots of mobile game highest prize winners have been awarded to Turbo Racing League, with Brian Dragotto claiming first place with $290,000. But the leader in mobile eSports is undoubtedly Vainglory, a MOBA game that follows in the footsteps of games like League of Legends: opposing teams battle through a landscape riddled with obstacles and creatures, with the end objective of destroying the enemy’s base. Vainglory, which launched in 2014, has recently been added to the lineup for WESG (World Electronic Sports Games), an international eSports tournament that is held in China.
Money to Be Made in Mobile eSports
Vainglory’s main rival is Arena of Valor (also known as a variation of Honor of Kings), developed by Tencent. Since it launched in North America near the end of 2017, Arena of Valor has been downloaded more than 5 million times already. Plans for the game include a World Cup coming in July 2018, a league combining the EU and NA that will run every week and a presence in Nintendo Switch, while notable players include SK Gaming, Immortals and Team Vitality. In a bid to develop content that is truly original and does not resemble well-established PC games, Supercell has developed Clash Royale, a strategy game that has won over fans and even got its very own league. According to The Esports Observer, last year Supercell made almost $1 billion and organized its own eSports tournament that saw more than 27 million people attending.
Another trend in the market is converting popular eSports games into versions suitable to play on mobile devices. Games like Hearthstone have been available to play on mobile platforms too, and recently Epic Games announced that Fortnite: Battle Royale is available to play in a mobile version. This might just propel the whole mobile eSports industry forward, as it was disclosed a few days ago that Fortnite will have a $100 million prize pool available for the first year that it will support competitive play. This is in stark contrast with several popular eSports games out there: for example, Call of Duty had a $4.2 million prize pool in the World League Championship last year, the most money ever being paid in a Call of Duty competition, while Dota 2 has seen some $38 million at its best. Details about how exactly this prize pool will pay out have been limited so far and fans are eager to know more.
The world of eSports is ready to explode in the next few years and it is rumoured that it will change the gaming industry forever – and it seems that mobile eSports will be an integral part of that revolution.