The 3 Biggest Steps That a Video Game Looking to Enter the Esports Scene Must Take

The Esports industry is at an all time high and is continuing to grow each day. Watching video games has come a long way from the days of watching a friend play Pac-Man in an arcade. Now viewers are able to watch their favorite gamers play in some of the biggest venues across the globe. Millions of people watch the best video game players in the world compete with one another and make a living. With esports now being televised in the United States on big stations (TBS, TNT, ESPN), esports continues to gain exposure and fans each day. Video game designers have adapted with the booming esports market and have created esports departments for their games. But what exactly does it take for a video game to become an esport? Here’s what we think.


Step 1: Have a Good Game

It sounds very simple, but it really isn’t. What exactly makes a game good? Is it the graphics, the storyline, the concept, the multiplayer options?  Sometimes it takes all of those things for a game to be good. But who decides whether the game is good you ask? The game’s community. The community for a game is the biggest measuring tool when it comes to figuring out if the game is good or not. For a game to be good, people must buy it. Then people must enjoy playing the game. Then those same people have to want to play the game more and more. That is extremely hard for a game to achieve. Game designers need to find a niche in the market for their unique game and draw a consumer base, then maintain those consumers. A game must have a community that enjoys the game and play it. That will lead to people wanting to watch others play it as well. I’ll get into that in a little bit.


Step 2: Have a Competitive Aspect in the Game

Esports does not consist of gamers playing the games they love casually. They are competing. They are in a competition. Players are beating their opponents in one way or another. Professional gamers are playing for money and titles. It is their job to do so. Professional streamers can play video games casually as a job, but they do not play on the esports level. Professional gamers spend many hours each day practicing their craft and become one of the best at the game they play. If games do not have a place where players can face off in some sort of aspect of the game and compete, then there is no way the game can succeed as an esport. Esports does not consist of one gamer playing a game. There is always an opponent for a player or a team. There is always a winner and a loser at some point. Fans don’t want to watch games that incorporate a massive amount of luck and randomness either. They want to see top players outplay other top players and display the amount of skill they possess in a game.  A game must be competitive in its’ own way to become an esport.


Step 3: Be Spectator Friendly; Attract Viewers

The final step and probably the hardest step for games to achieve is getting a dedicated audience for their game. Very few games have a large viewer base for their game. The game will almost always need a spectator feature in the game. Most of the time a third person view would be best, but some games (CS:GO, Call of Duty, Halo) can succeed with first person spectating at the esports level. Having the ability to watch others play is a major key to attracting fans to a game. After a game attracts viewers, the next step is retaining those viewers and gaining more viewers. Fans want to watch the best players and teams compete.  Building storylines and having a great broadcast/production team can also bring back viewers and attract new viewers, but gaining a large interest from the start that can support your esports league/competition is the hardest part. This is why many top game developers are expanding their business and creating “esports” departments. If you look at the top esports right now, (League of Legends, CS: GO, Dota 2), they all have one thing in common. Their game developer backs their esports scene extremely well and did all they could to help those games succeed and become what they are today. Other game developing companies will have to take the same approach that Blizzard, Valve, and Riot Games did and continue to do. These games became successful for a reason. Because the creators established the path the game could take to get where they are today. A game doesn’t magically become an esports out of nowhere. Game designers have to work for it. And that is not easy.

By: Jeff “Gravy” Miskin

Twitter: @BigBadGravy