eSports are no longer a niche industry. If they continue growing then they could easily become the biggest spectator sport in the world, a change that will drastically alter the way we create, play and make games, and one that us developers need to be well prepared for.
But how can we get on the bandwagon? How can we create the next big eSport title?
Other Ways to Get Involved with eSports
Before we get to the actual game creation side of things, there are other ways to get involved with eSports that don’t revolve around creating a game or subjecting yourself to endless hours of practicing and playing. There are many investors out there that see eSports as the future and are investing in new and old teams alike.
They help to secure the premises and to pay the players and in return they earn a share of the success. But it’s not quite all of the glory without any of the work, because these investors can play a big role in modern eSport teams.
Jason heads an investor company that recently pumped some money into Team Liquid, creating a new ownership structure in the process and potentially setting a huge precedent for the industry, one which could see some major changes in the near future. So, if you want to do the same then get out your checkbook!
How to Create an eSport Game
Creating the next big eSport is not just about luck. That certainly comes into it, but there are some similarities between the biggest games that can be replicated with the right dedication and a big enough budget:
Multiplayer: The first step is to make sure that your game can be played in multiplayer. It doesn’t need to be a team game like LoL, because there are still ways for the eSports setup to work without it (Hearthstone is a great example of this) and then you have two-player games like FIFA and Street Fighter that don’t rely on team-baed gameplay at all. As long as your game can be played by two or more players at the same time, and they are in direct competition, you’re good.
Gameplay and Size: I’m sure that even the most diehard of LoL players would be the first to admit that the game doesn’t have the best graphics. When you stack games like that and DOTA up against single-player RPGs and action titles, they don’t come close. And that’s good, because while big graphics are expensive and difficult for indie developers, scope, scale and great gameplay are not. This is where you need to focus your efforts.
Host: The biggest eSport leagues are run by the game developers themselves. They are the ones who pay the wages, offer the prizes and arrange the events. Popularity typically comes first, but they exploit this by creating the competitive format. This is key and it’s where your focus needs to be. If you can offer pro gamers a financial incentive to play your game and become good at it, they will do it. And the more that signup, the bigger your event becomes, the more sponsorship money you will make and the closer you will be to creating the next LoL.
Marketing: Good marketing revolves around key placements and when it comes to eSports the best placements are with big Youtubers and Twitch players. Give them free copies of your game, pay them if you must. If you can get them playing the game for their subscribers then you’re onto a winner. If you can get them streaming a live event, no mater how small it is, the you could have the next big eSport on your hands.