Are mobile esports the new/next big thing?

The backlash that Blizzard endured after their Diablo Immortal announcement fueled the never-ending debate about mobile gaming, and as an extension of it, mobile esports. We have witnessed the birth and rise of the mobile platform as a serious contender in esports events, even though it is still considered as inferior by many. But nowadays, those mobile devices that follow us along everywhere we go are pure technology condensed, and video game editors would be foolish not to make good use of this new platform.
Especially considering that mobile gaming now represents the majority of the global video games market, with 51% of the expected $137.9 Bn to be made in 2018 (Source: Newzoo).

We have seen games adapted to fit the phones, with Fortnite, PUBG and Hearthstone coming to mind immediately, and some native mobile games like Clash Royale grab a fair share of the attention lately, with online tournaments, official pro circuits and LAN events offering cash prizes that have nothing to be ashamed of in comparison to some of the big names of the industry.

ESWC PGW 2018 – Samsung Fortnite Mobile Tournament

And it’s not just about the professionals, these games present the huge advantage of being easily available, and playable by everyone, so there is no wonder that they represent a non-negligible part of the community tournaments organized this year. Fortnite, of course, leads the way, and its cross-platform gameplay makes it difficult to exactly know the portion of players enjoying the game on a mobile device, but things get clearer when you look at PUBG Mobile and Clash Royale, two games that are exclusive to mobile, and that have seen an incredible rise in numbers this year (on Toornament, PUBG Mobile went from not existing to Top 2 in just 6 months, only outdistanced by Fortnite!).

So that would be an understatement to say that we do believe in mobile gaming and mobile esports, given that ultimately, the players are the one making the calls, and it’s pretty obvious that the platform matters less than the quality of the game!

Evolution of esports prize money between 2015 and 2018

3 years ago, we published on this very blog an infographics on the Esports Economy, and especially the prize moneys awarded in the tournaments of the top esports titles.
It’s time to take stock of the situation, and see where we are at regarding tournament prize moneys.
Find a new interactive infographics, with the most up-to-date data available, along data compiled from 2015:

E3 2018 – Esports Edition

Another year, another E3, and this year is once again filled with announcements with a strong esports scent, and a few events worth a look!
Find the complete conferences, and links to the specific trailers for the upcoming games and updates in our Esports Recap:


Electronic Arts brought back their big names of the competitive scene for this E3, with sports IP coming back for a new season: Madden 19, NBA Live 19 and of course FIFA 19.
We also learned more about the upcoming Battlefield V, which will boast a Battle Royale mode in addition to the classic multiplayer modes.
Finally, a surprise happened with Command & Conquer Rivals, a new opus to the famous RTS series, designed for mobile devices, with a RTS gameplay leaning towards Clash Royale and the likes.


The Microsoft conference was filled to the brim with announcements and news for around 50 different games. Three Microsoft titles caught our attention for their competitive aspect, even if the release date of two of them is yet to be revealed. These games are Forza Horizon 4, and two games which current opuses already have million-dollars circuits: Halo Infinite and Gears of War 5!


Ubisoft is known for taking care of its games and communities, and they delivered with the announcement for the new Just Dance 19, a long-time players favorite, but also huge updates to come for their competitive titles R6S and For Honor!


Last but not least, Nintendo was the closing player this year, but they delivered big time! Long-awaited Super Smash Bros Ultimate got a full character reveal, and the competitive scene has clearly been a focus with balance changes and maps, plus the invitational tournament held during the E3 (with results at the bottom of the article).
Splatoon 2 has also received his Octo Expansion, and Mario Tennis Ace is getting close to release!
The surprise of the conference was the announcement for the next Super Mario Party game, not exactly a contender for the next esports phenomenon, but you have to admit a Mario Party tournament would be a blast!
Finally, Fortnite has been announced on Switch, so you can really play anywhere!

Other titles that caught our eye during this week were obviously the next Call of Duty, Black Ops IIII, and Jump Force, a versus fighting game with all of your favorite manga characters.
If some of these announcements had something to do with Battle Royale, two games are 100% Battle Royale:

This E3 was also the occasion to have a few great tournaments, with the first one being the Fortnite Pro-Am 2018, reuniting 50 Fortnite streamers and pro players with mainstream celebrities for a huge charity match with a $3,000,000 cash prize:

Nintendo brought the World Finals of its Splatoon 2 World Championship at the E3 for everyone to see, and it was a blast!

Finally, the first ever Super Smash Bros Ultimate tournament happened during this E3 with an invitational tournament bringing together pro players from the previous titles of the IP, in a fun tournament mixing all gamemodes (1v1, 2v2 and Free-for-All):

Will Battle Royale generalize competitive gaming?

Let’s start by stating the obvious, the Battle Royale genre is, and has been for a year or so, the go-to trend everyone wants a piece of. Successful titles (do Fortnite and PUBG ring any bell?), viewership records, there is no shortage of superlatives or in-depth analyses to make sure you talk about the (current) golden boy of video games.
But let’s take a different approach, and see what can the Battle Royales really bring to the table, apart from entertainment and numbers in the millions, not that it would not be enough, but we are sure there is more to it!

Indeed, those games came with their own revolution for competitive gaming and esports, especially with the new formats they brought along. Grand scale battles were previously a prerogative of large-scale shooters such as Battlefield or Planetside, with large groups of players fighting in battles ranging from sixty-four to several hundred players at a time. If competitiveness was without a doubt present, there was not much room for structured competition. That changed when the Battle Royales started pitting a hundred players against one another, with all but a single goal to reach, be the last man standing (or prone, we are not judging!).

Top #1 from the first game of El Rubius’ Youtubers Tournament

The Free-For-all is no innovation, games like Quake or Unreal Tournament were very used to it, and had a vivid competitive scene, arguably kickstarting esports. But the real change that Battle Royales bring is one step above, not at the match structure (it’s just a matter of scale, even though it’s linked), but at the tournament level. Indeed, in the past, when you wanted to organize a 64-players tournament, you had to select a structure. Will it be Round-Robin followed by a Bracket? Or maybe just a huge Double-Elimination Bracket? What about Swiss Stages, Leagues and the mix of all of those? For a player, the huge deal was also that you could get eliminated pretty early on, leaving you with nothing but your eyes to cry and watch your defiler carrying on. As a spectator, some structures were, puzzling, to say the least, and to this day, some tournaments are organized with structures that require you to have a PhD. in esports to understand…
In a Battle Royale, if you want to organize a 64-players tournament, well, it’s easy enough, you just play N matches, cumulate points from those matches, and just like that, you have your tournament, ranking and winner! It’s easy for players, it’s perfect for viewers, as it’s almost 100% gameplay, with a few minutes needed between each match to start the next one.

All of this generates a great commitment because everyone gets to play all games (unless of course, they are quitters when they calculate they mathematically can’t win anymore), and viewers can cheer for their favorite player/team all competition long. Plus, the timeframe and simple structure make those kind of competitions available to all, and saying that, we are eyeing towards streamers who want to set up a fun tournament for their viewers for example…

Add the fact that at the community level, they will usually be solo tournaments, and you have a great recipe for success, as it’s easy to register, fast to set up and players remain involved.
For all of these reasons, it was important for us to provide our community with the right tools to organize such competitions in even better conditions, hence why we have been working hard to make sure the platform would be ready by the time the games allow everyone to organize their own tournament, and it’s close… real close!

Smash Bros, Black Ops IIII and other announcements!

This week has been rich in long-awaited announcements, and several of them have a very interesting competitive side to them. Let us take a look at what 2018 (and beyond) has in store for us based on those latest news!

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nintendo

The Nintendo Direct from the 8th of March was stacked with announcements for the 3DS and Switch consoles, including many games ported from other platforms. But three titles have retained our attention because of their competitiveness.

splatoon2
First off, Splatoon 2, the original shooter IP from Nintendo will soon move to its 3.0 version, with a whole solo extension called “Octo Expansion” and a whole lot of content, from stages to clothing and weapons. Release date is set to some time this summer.

mariotennisace
Then, it’s time for a N64/GBC game to get a sequel on the latest consoles, with Mario Tennis Aces. 3DS and Wii U versions of the original games exist since 2013, but it’s a brand new game that has been announced, full with competitive features! Release date is on the 22nd of June, with a pre-launch free tournament already planned.

smashbros
Last, but not least, rumors had it in past weeks that a new Smash Bros game was in the pipes, but that went from rumor to official announcement with the conference. All we know is that the game should feature Link from Breath of the Wild and Splatoon character, and that the game is set to be released in 2018.

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activision

blackops4
After weeks of rumor, Activision finally announced the next Call of Duty title, which will be a sequel to the Black Ops franchise by Treyarch, soberly titled “IIII”. More information are bound to be shared this spring, and the release date is set on the 12th of October.

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ubisoft

thedivision2
Another great name to have gotten its sequel announced this week was Ubisoft’s The Division. No real insight on what the game will offer for competitive players, but the devs say they have learned from past experience, and the great idea that was the Dark Zone might come back in a more polished form!

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epicgames

fortnite-mobile
And the final big announcement from past week is the Mobile version for Fortnite that has been teased by Epic Games. The mobile version will support full cross-play and cross-progression with existing platforms (except with XBox One apparently), and a first iOS beta will open on the 12th of March, followed by invites, and an Android version in the coming months.

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All those new games have their seat ready on Toornament already, and we can’t wait to see which ones will pack a punch and become great competitive titles!