eSport is growing as never before and more than 215 million players are watching eSports games. The value of it is a whopping 900 million dollars and it won’t take long before it reaches the 1 billion dollar mark. If we look at the impact of the 19% the scene grew from 2015 to 2016 we can surely estimate that the billion dollar mark will hit this year. One could say that it should slow down since a big chunk of releases today are free to play, which means the developers does not get any payment upon release. They’re relying on in-game purchases to finance their game instead. If you look at 3 good games, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Defenders of the Ancient 2 you can see that they all have one thing in common. You can’t buy power or any in-game advantages for real money (except for experience boost in some cases). All three of these successful games are providing their play community with cosmetics for their heroes/weapons in form of skins. Skins can be purchased for a few dollars which will give your hero a unique look. In games as Dota 2 and CS:GO you can also find, earn and get them from loot boxes which open up new elements since those properties can be traded with other players. From here, a new economy/market has come to existence. We have seen new sites poop up design around the concept of skin trading and even skin betting.
What more needs to have a successful game?
One thing is sure, having a triple A polished game for free helps a lot to build up a player base. We see a lot of promising games die due to the lack of players. To acquire and retain a health player-base should therefore be seen as the highest priority.
Since we just dropped free to play – one of the bigger acquisition bombs – we should now check a few elements which retain the players.
- Having regular updates to the game
- Keep the game free from bugs and broken code
- Interesting game mechanics which is hard to master
- High skill cap
- Spectator value
- eSport capability
Our friends on Gamasutra made an excellent post about this where they explain it more in-depth than I ever could.
I recommend you to head over to them to check out more about what keeps an esports game successful.