As the popularity and mainstream appeal of esports is steadily growing (along with the prize pools of professional competitions), game developers are looking for ways to jump into this trend, releasing titles with multiplayer components that will hopefully spawn the next big competitive sensation. Truth be told not all games are worthy of an esports scene for a plethora of reasons (bad design, faulty infrastructure, fad gameplay), and the fact that some developers are aggressively pushing this component does not help their case at all. The thing that all developers should realize is that you can’t artificially create a competitive scene around a game. Gamers, with their passion and drive to compete, have the final say in this regard, and there are many games out there that could potentially become the next esports sensations. Here are three video games with great exports potential.
If you have been playing video games for long enough, you have surely heard about Quake, a series which has been shaping our culture since its inception. Since this series already has a rabid fanbase built around it, it is no wonder why the developers at id Software decided to mark their huge return with a shift to esports. This newest entry will abandon the level playing field of the previous games and replace it with a champion system that will allow players to select premade characters with unique sets of abilities and stats, similar to Overwatch and Team Fortress 2. Fortunately, veteran Quake players needn’t worry about this change, as the core gameplay of the previous titles – fast-paced movements, quick animations and diverse sets of weapons – is pretty much intact. The only downside, according to some veteran players, is that the game suffers from balance issues. However, since the game is still in Early Access, these issues will be undoubtedly solved, transforming Quake Champions in the next esports sensation.
With the success of Blizzard’s Hearthstone, nobody was surprised by Valve’s decision to release their own digital collectible card game. The game’s concept is heavily inspired by Dota 2 both in terms of style and gameplay. Artifact will combine the hallmarks of the two genres – Moba and CCG – into a single game, with players having to tackle lanes guarded by towers, creeps, bosses and other Dota-2 specific gameplay elements. Admittedly, Artifact’s reveal at the 2017 International was received with skepticism, but critics who have played an Alpha version of the game praised it for its novel and interesting take spin on the two genres it is inspired after. The game is scheduled to release in late 2018, and judging by Valve’s previous successes in the esports betting scene, we can safely assume that Artifact will join the ranks of Dota 2 and Overwatch.
Skull & Bones
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s departure from the series’ established formula, which replaced templars and repetitive combat with guns, ships, and pirates, has left gamers wanting for more, with many of them saying that Ubisoft should take these new elements and turn them into a title of its own. Surprisingly, Ubisoft has listened to fan demand and announced Skull & Bones, and upcoming tactical action game set in an open world environment. Players will take control of a customizable pirate captain from a third-person perspective, take into account factors such as wind positioning and weather conditions before making tactical decisions. Obviously, the game will have a full-fledged multiplayer component through which players will fight with each other and gain riches. Judging by the latest press releases, Skull & Bones resembles a fast-paced World of Warships, a fact which will most likely attract even those who are skeptical about Ubisoft. While Skull & Bones does not look like your standard competitive experience, we can safely assume that the game will quickly garner a competitive following. Fortunately, Ubisoft has demonstrated through Rainbow Six Siege’s unexpected comeback that they are willing to listen to fan feedback invest time and resources if the potential is there, and there is no reason to think they will not apply the same model with Skull & Bones. The game is schedule to release in 2019, so make sure to follow its development.
10 (and even five years ago, if we are being totally honest), nobody could have predicted that esports will be such a big thing. Initially reserved to a dedicated niche of passionate gamers who were driven to compete with each other, nowadays it is a multi-million dollar industry, with some competitions offering prize pools in the millions of dollars. With Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Overwatch, Hearthstone and other games being so well-established, it is hard to predict which games (if any) will achieve the same amount of popularity and traction in the esports scene. But the same thing has been said back when the aforementioned games were released, and look at them now. To conclude, the three games that we have highlighted in this article have the potential to be the next esports sensations, so make sure to check them out when they will be finally released.