For the past five years or more, media commentators and industry experts have been saying that mobile represents the future of gaming. Today, they are no longer saying it, because in that respect, at least, the future is now. Mobile gaming is bigger in terms of global revenue than console and PC put together and represents well over half of the overall industry.
Mobile eSports – change is in the air
Even console stalwarts like Fortnite and FIFA have bowed to the inevitable and released mobile versions. But how about eSports? In some respect, these can be seen as the last bastion of traditional gaming. Sure, there are mobile eSport games and tournaments, and we will talk more about them in just a moment. However, as things currently stand, the serious eSport tournaments that attract serious coverage, such as the ones covered by Betsafe eSports are still all about playing on traditional platforms, not a smartphone.
Mobile eSport games are therefore seen as something of a “lite” version of the real thing. But think a moment, we’ve seen this story before. A decade ago, the “mobile version” of anything meant simplified and with reduced functionality. Now look again at those games covered by Betsafe. CSGO and Dota 2 were released in 2012 and 2013 respectively. League of Legends has been around since 2009. While these games, which are essentially from the pre-smartphone era, continue to dominate eSports, then the traditional platforms will continue to hold sway. The point is, their time will come to an end, and change is in the air.
The classic eSport games will still be popular in the years ahead, but as new games come to the fore, there will come a point where they gain the “retro” label and form a whole new niche. But as they gradually drift towards semi-retirement, what games are on the rise and could become the pinnacle of eSport for the next generation? The short answer is “mobile ones.”
As interest and participation grow in mobile eSports, its rise could be both sudden and meteoric. Sponsors, bookmakers, websites, and even TV networks will all devote their time and resources to whatever is most popular and will get them the most readers, bettors, or watchers. There will come a tipping point, just as there was with mobile gaming in general, where the platform of choice suddenly shifts.
Popular mobile eSport games
So which games could surpass Dota 2 and CS:GO as the top eSport of the future? There are a few possibilities, although it could be something that is still on the drawing board right now. As things currently stand, there are a handful of mobile eSports whose tournaments are starting to attract serious attention, from both the fans and the sponsors.
Three of them really stand out in terms of numbers. These are Arena of Valor, which boasts by far the biggest viewer numbers, PUBG Mobile, whose pre-lockdown tournament had a $5 million prize pool, and Free Fire, which is rapidly catching up with both. The age of mobile eSport is approaching, and it is closer than you might think.