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What does the E stand for in Esports?
The E stands for Electronic. This is the major difference from conventional sports as Esports takes place in front of a screen – TV, Desktop Monitor, Laptop, Pad, Mobilephone. The competition is facilitated by video games where teams compete versus each other, particularly professional teams.
The most popular genres in Esports are:
- MOBA – Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
- FPS – First-Person Shooter
- RTS – Real-Time Strategy
Why is not Candy Crush Saga an Esport?
First of all because it sucks. Second of all because of the huge element of RNG in Candy Crush Saga. RNG stands for Random Number Generator, the higher RNG you have in a game the less skill it requires to win since the outcome of the game is random.
Generally to have a successful Esport you need as little RNG as possible. People want to watch Sports and Esports where skill factor is the deciding factor, not luck. RNG is however present in many titles. For example, Hearthstone can be compared to Poker where a good draw can make or break for the participant. But the RNG is small enough in Hearthstone and Poker to be able to determine who is the better player and who have the best chances to win.
For Esports betting the skill factor is extremely important as we need a predictable match in order for the sportsbooks to compile odds based on how good the teams are and surrounding circumstances.
Why is CSGO and Dota 2 so popular?
What the biggest titles have going for them is that they have been around for many years, some close to 20 years. This grants them a large active fan base and effectively a large following and crowd that watch the professional Esport matches. Games like CSGO, Dota 2 and StarCraft 2 was not developed primarily to suit the format of Esports and to please a crowd watching matches.
All the three aforementioned are refinements of a popular history.
CSGO (Counter-Strike:GO) had many predecessors dating back to 1999 and the foundation of this title is built upon this legacy.
Dota 2 was derived from Dota, a popular mod from Warcraft III from Blizzard. So the developers of Dota 2 could capitalize and leverage the popularity of Blizzard’s games.
Starcraft was the hugely popular predecessor of Starcraft 2 and was highly anticipated upon its release.
What is needed for a new game to make the transition to Esports?
15 years ago there was no blueprint on how to make a game that would do well as an Esport. Maybe it is a stretch to say that there is a blueprint today but developers are comfortable enough to spend millions of $ developing a game that is designed specifically for the Esport culture. That is why we are likely to see more and more titles in the upcoming years and possibly some of the old are going to fade away.
Developers like Blizzard, Valve and RIOT are going to have even better confidence dropping millions of $ on developing new potential Esport titles considering they already have legacy titles and a huge foot planted in the Esport scene. This will grant them professional players to play matches on the high levels and a huge fanbase following and watching the matches.
Smaller developers do not have the same edge as the big developers however and need to be more innovative and at the same time try to develop games that are easy to understand. Consider this, there are 81,000,000 million people playing League of Legends (LoL) every month (2017). People that do not play LoL are likely to be confused when watching a match because they have no clue as to what is happening on the screen. With 81,000,000 people playing the game, even a small % will drive large viewership numbers.
That is why developers should keep in mind that their game should be fairly easy to understand, in order to have an appeal outside of the active player base.
As little RNG as possibly like we mentioned ‘Why is not Candy Crush Saga an Esport?” and focus on a game where skill factor plays a large roll.
Multiplayer – Esports titles tend to be more popular when you have a team of two or more players in each team.
Quick pace – people have short attention spans, especially if being asked to watch something they have trouble understanding. Imagine having to watch a Dota 2 match with no previous experience with the title or little knowledge about MOBA? Probably you will get tired after 5 minutes. If you watch something where a round (similar to a Game or Set in Tennis) is finished within 3-5 minutes it is easier to understand what it is all about.
It is also easier to get a large player base if the leisure/amateur players (potential professionals) are not tied up for 40-60 minutes every time they participate in a match.
The developers have to push for competitions and tournaments. Activate the community every way possibly through social media outlets, interactions and sponsorships.
Those are a few things that are needed and an elaboration on already successful Esports.
What about Esports Betting?
What about cold beer and salted peanuts? In all types of sports, the driving factor in terms of sponsorship, money and viewership comes down to betting. Thanks to betting the NFL and Premier League is and continues to be what it is today. Betting drives viewership numbers. People watch the game and want some thrill and excitement. It has been like that for ages and it will never change. From the Roman Theaters to ESL Pro League Finals in CSGO 2017.
An Esport where Esports betting is not available will not make it to a large audience and thus will not attract sponsorship and larger prize pools and will eventually seize to exist. These Esports will die a slow and painful death if they ever take off in the first place.
The Esports that make it regularly to the sportsbooks and are available for Esports Betting have a much greater chance to stick around for many years for these reasons. They will have a growing and evolving professional player base and fan base and money coming in from sponsorships and large prize pools.
The back side to Esports Betting is match fixing and the growing threat to integrity in Esports and its professional players. This is a large issue that will be tackled in an upcoming article.
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