In this episode, we’re joined by Devin Becker, eSports commentator and indie game designer to chat about the emerging mobile eSports market. He shares insider knowledge about a variety of topics surrounding the world of competitive gaming, and offers tips for mobile developers who are interested in breaking into the eSports development arena.
Our conversation begins discussing the similarities and differences between traditional sports and its digital counterpart, and how they both require an audience to succeed. With the rise of streaming platforms such as Twitch, it’s never been easier to become a spectator of competitive gameplay. But why do people watch other people play video games? For the same reason they watch traditional sports, entertainment. Devin explains that people become spectators of eSports because they appreciate the high level of skill, especially if it’s a game they also enjoy playing.
A casual, repetitive mobile game won’t engage as many spectators as a fast paced, skill-based shooting game with great depth. More sophisticated mobile games centered around the eSports model are available, but it’s admittedly more difficult to create a skill-based, tournament-ready title on that platform. What’s a mobile game developer looking to break into eSports to do? Devin offers some tips:
Your game doesn’t have to be a real time first-person shooter. Sure, Fortnite has all the buzz right now, but successful turn based skill games have been around for a while, and some of them even drive huge audiences. Think about poker. Nobody cared to watch it until the Texas Hold’em variant hit the mainstream. Now it’s featured on ESPN.
Become a fan first. Sample a variety of eSports gameplay. Find out why you like one experience over another. What could make it even better?
Always be testing. When it’s time to answer that question and start creating your very own mobile eSports game, spend a lot of time prototyping and testing the game mechanic to balance the fun factor and skill.
Build spectator tools before release. It’s not enough to simply have a fun game that people want to play and watch. eSport games need to be easily accessible for viewers. Having these tools baked in at launch is important because you’ll be playing catch up otherwise.
Once you begin developing a mobile eSports game, you’ll likely run into issues regarding the limitations that are native to mobile, but it also means you’ll be joining the few who are currently innovating, and succeeding, in the space.
Thank you for listening, and a big thanks to Devin Becker for taking time to share his experiences in eSports, and his take on the huge potential for mobile games to adapt to the quickly growing competitive model.
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