Since online gaming emerged in the last decade to revolutionize the game industry, playing video games has never been the same. Developers began focusing on multiplayer features and enhanced competitive and cooperative gameplays to provide fully interactive experiences for gamers all across the globe. Apart from connecting players, new elements like games on demand, subscriptions, and streaming services gave a new look to an already booming market. Here in this article, we will discuss and go through the journey of mobile eSports through the years and its impending future.
As new titles were constantly being released with gameplays totally revolved around multiplayer gaming, soon online tournaments came up. This was one of the first steps to establish eSports as the future of the game industry. Quickly, these tournaments evolved into organized leagues and competitions, with huge prizes and sponsorships, and games like Fortnite Mobile and Call of Duty played major roles in the rise of eSports popularity.
Besides, another key element to this boom was the increasing availability of streaming media platforms, especially YouTube and Twitch, the latter being the most popular streaming service for eSports. With the possibility of streaming gameplays and creating online content, gamers could now consider something that would be ridiculed a few decades earlier: make a living by playing video games. According to a report by Reuters, by the end of 2019, the total audience of eSports had grown to more than 450 million viewers, and its revenue increased to over US$1 billion.
Before all that, being paid to play video games used to sound very far-fetched, and one could only contemplate earning money with online gaming by playing casino games like roulette or poker. But now, the possibilities are endless and the future of eSports is even brighter.
The rise of mobile tournaments
Mobile eSports have been continuously increasing in popularity in the past few years, particularly in countries like India, where the number of smartphone users is expected to reach more than 760 million in 2021. Despite having a long way to go to reach the same level as the PC and consoles eSports market, mobile tournaments still attract big crowds and reward huge prizes to top players.
Some of the games played in these tournaments are mobile versions of PC and console titles, like PUBG Mobile. The mobile version of the popular free-to-play multiplayer battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, PUBG Mobile is currently one of the biggest games in mobile tournaments. A series of global championships was recently released and attracted millions of players, rewarding more than US$5 million in prizes in its first year. The game is also one of the most-streamed contents in the world, having reached more than 55 million hours watched on streaming platforms in 2019.
But not just adaptations make the big leagues. Original games, that take advantage of the unique platform mobile gaming provides, are also responsible for a big share of prizes in eSports competitions. Arena of Valor, a multiplayer online battle arena developed by TiMi Studios for iOS and Android devices, recorded the second biggest payouts among mobile games in 2019, and was one of six eSports video games to be featured in a demonstration at the 2018 Asian Games, alongside Clash Royale and Hearthstone, both mobile games that also achieved a high level of success in recent years.
International recognition of mobile eSports
China was one of the first countries to recognize eSports as real sports, way back in 2003, despite some concerns at that time that video games could be addicting, and the government encouraged participating in eSports competitions. In 2019, China became the first country to recognize gamers and gaming operators as official professions within the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. The Ministry expected over 2 million people will register as professional gamers in the following 5 years.
Following the demonstration of six eSports games at the 2018 event, the Asian Games, the Asian top-level multi-sport competition, announced the inclusion of eSports as medal events at the 2022 edition. In October 2017, the International Olympic Committee acknowledged the increasing popularity of eSports and indicated that eSports could be considered as sporting activities as they involve similar levels of practice and training as traditional sports. However, during the Eighth Olympic Summit in December 2019, the IOC stated that it would only consider including sports-simulating games like FIFA or NBA 2K in any official Olympic event, as violent games would not be suitable with Olympic values.
What are your thoughts and opinions on the rise and future of the mobile eSports industry? What do you think about the future of mobile eSports? Let us know in the comment section below!