Is "Chasing E-sports" The New "Chasing WoW"?
We talked about this a little bit in the last F2P Cast, but everyone wants to be an e-sport now. Firefall, PlanetSide 2, every flippin' MOBA... they all want to be the next League of Legends and draw millions of players to their virtual arenas.
Hey, haven't we seen this before?
Remember when every game wanted to be World of Warcraft, or, more specifically, the “WoW Killer”? If WoW could draw 10+ million players, all we need to do is make our game just like it (with minor, but surely totally awesome, tweaks), and it'll be fantastic! The money will roll in!
How did that work for ya?
We're just now starting to pull out of that non-creative nosedive with general MMO design, but I think we're seeing something similar these days, with so many games clamoring for that e-sports presence that only a scant few have actually managed to be successful with. On the bright side, unlike with “WoW clones,” e-sport-friendly games are generally decent enough games to start with, and their entire financial success (probably) doesn't hinge on them drawing millions of viewers for their World Championships.
Still, as much as we've been through with other games, it's hardly wrong for us to roll our eyes and meet any such announcements of an “e-sport focus” with some skepticism. Sony Online Entertainment has been pushing for it with PlanetSide 2 for some time, with their agreement with MLG and their recent announcement of Battle Islands, which they insist are not just e-sports fodder.
Firefall's another example of a game that, like PS2, is much more than just a team-based PvP shooter, a notion that Red 5 studios has been adamant about promoting, but now they're hosting tournaments and, based on what they showed off at last year's PAX Prime, they've got a lot of hope for the game's e-sport marketability. Again, what's the focus? Is it this rather cool and unique-looking PvE shooter, with innovative crafting and the feeling of fighting back the relentless hordes, or is it fairly typical, seen-it-a-million-times PvP arenas?
Really, companies are free to pursue whatever path they want with their games, and if they want to promote e-sports, good for them. Maybe they're just trying to draw the hardcore tournament/e-sport crowd the same way another MMO tries to draw hardcore raiders or crafters or role-players as a subset of their larger player base. It's just another way to play.
And someday, someone might actually manage to “break through” the way League of Legends and StarCraft (the latter mostly in South Korea) have done. But every game does have a limited budget and scope, and I hope they aren't blown away in the attempt to chase an unrealistic dream.
For a great treatise on why e-sports might or might not ever be huge in America, check out this video from the PBS Idea Channel on YouTube.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
💣 Feature | Free-To-Play: Twice As Big As Pay-To-Play?
There's a lot of information – and misinformation – out there about the gaming market.By Jason Winter - 9 years ago
You May Enjoy
GDC 2023: Nexon Drops New Trailer For Upcoming Free-To-Play Tactical Shooter Veiled Experts, Final Beta Soon
The final beta test runs from March 30 to April 6. Registration available now.By Matthew D'Onofrio - 1 week ago
Earn The Things You Need To Successfully Navigate Menzoberranzan in Neverwinter’s Latest Battle Pass
The Protecter’s Enclave Vaults open once again.By QuintLyn Bowers - 1 week ago
Descend Into The Deepest Depths Of The Sea In Tower Of Fantasy’s March 30th Update
The game’s next major expansion arrives later this month.By QuintLyn Bowers - 6 days ago
Overwatch 2 Pachimari Event Now Live Featuring Free Cosmetics And New Arcade Mode
Play Catch-A-Mari on the event-themed Hanamura from now until April 4.By Matthew D'Onofrio - 1 week ago
Bungie Honors Lance Reddick In This Week At Bungie Post, Zavala Still Has A Few Performances Coming
Discuss his performances left to come in the game.By QuintLyn Bowers - 5 days ago
New Blue Protocol Gameplay, Area, And Mechanics Shown In Developer Livestream
Take a peak at Montegnor Valley plus wall climbing and get ready for the upcoming Network Test.By Matthew D'Onofrio - 15 hours ago
Think for a moment, if every games that is released is going to be "e-sport focused", there isn't much of a market for them.If we became saturated with e-sports tittles, it would be nuts.Also, i don't think that there is a huge "hardcore tournaments pro's" gamers out there, most people just play for fun, not for cash.So, it could be that in the future we would have LOADS of pro gamers - even more than casuals because of the shift of direction.I don't think this is a good idea for business if you think about it.
Even if you're like me and don't give two flying sh_ts (would you like to buy a vowel?) about e-sports, this new trend could be beneficial to F2P games as a whole. It will force publishers to be much more serious about making fair and balanced games because pay2win is not compatible with e-sports.
As for games striding off a bit and offering both PVE and PVP functions while they still market themselves as PVP and e-sport focused games - It's not that much of a bad thing and for example it was prefectly fine for Dragon Nest.
They held several torunaments in Korea and China which were pretty popular despite DN having it's own balance issues when it comes to their gameplay.