Esports have a set of almost unspoken rules which all of the popular games follow. You definitely wouldn’t see a game like checkers or solitaire take the eSports world by storm. (not that checkers and solitaire aren’t fun games!) It’s just that when you look at professional eSports, you kind of realize that they all actually have a lot more in common than you thought. So, what is the magic formula that turns games into eSports conglomerates?
Taking a look at the most popular eSports games, we see that the most popular titles are usually either 1st person shooters like Overwatch or Halo and roleplaying strategy games like League of Legends and DOTA 2. The type of games that are currently big in the eSports community says a lot about what the industry is currently looking for. These types of games usually have quick matches and are even formatted to be as hassle free as possible when it comes to playing tournaments.
A game wouldn’t be that exciting to watch or sports cast if everyone just sat around in silence. That’s where the entertainment of teamwork comes in. Some of the biggest games are the ones that capitalize on teamwork. Solo games usually don’t do well within the eSports community. When we think of teams of course some of the biggest traditional sports-based games like the 2K or FIFA series definitely come to mind. Other team-based games include the titles mentioned earlier plus additional 1st person shooters like Call of Duty and Halo and other role-playing games such as Hearthstone or Starcraft.
It’s safe to say that eSports wouldn’t really be anywhere without fans. Players need an audience to engage with and perform for. Therefore, major eSports games must be ones that have a large following. Recently games such as Overwatch and Fortnite have retained their popularity in the eSports industry due in part to their continuous increase in fans.
Support From Developers
Companies such as Blizzard, Riot, and Epic Games have tremendously boosted their titles popularity within the eSports industry in many ways. Some of these techniques include self-promotion, tournament specific updates, as well as monetary contributions for tournaments. Having the support of its developing company is an absolute must for any game that looks to become popular within the eSports industry.
Imagine if you played a game where everyone who lost got extra lives and was able to use auto-aim. You may think that was a bit unfair, and you’d be right. A game like that probably wouldn’t last long within the eSports industry. That’s why development companies pay special attention to the skill gap of their games. You may be wondering what exactly a “skill gap” is. Skill gaps are essentially the scale of how hard the game when you compare pro players to casual players. If a game is too easy, then there really isn’t any elite level of players. In short, there would be too many players competing at tournaments. However, if the game is too hard, there may not be enough elite players to qualify for tournaments in the first place. The key is to find the golden balance within the skill gap. A game has to be just hard enough for pro players to master.
The Future of eSports Standards
It’s important to note that these criteria weren’t always the standard for the eSports industry. The eSports industry moves at lighting speed with games moving in and out of the scene all the time. Who knows where the eSports industry may go next? We do know that the standards for games that hope to shine within the eSports community will only continue to grow as the bar will keep rising for games to improve and outshine the competition.