By 2019, esports will create a revenue stream of more than $1 billion US Dollar. This is no surprise as it has become a new trend of sports entertainment, especially for millennials and generation Z.
League of Legends was the most-watched live esports content on Twitch and Youtube with 347.4 million viewers in 2018. Followed by CS:GO with 237.9 million, and DOTA 2 at 250.4 million.
As a game developer, you might wonder what is needed to be in a game to be qualified for esports. Besides being competitive, these are some of the important elements that exists in an esports game based on our analysis. This topic will also be separated into two series articles.
In every traditional or competitive sports, there will always have one simple goal for the players to achieve. It could be getting a ball into a goal, or getting it to the other side of the field. This is the same for esports. Your game’s goal has to be able to described in a single sentence for players and audience to easily understand. If your game’s goal is to find out who is a killer among a crowd while protecting a princess and delivering something to a place, you will have a complex goal that might be confusing for some.
On the other hand, the goals in Counter Strike is fairly simple, it is to blow up a specific place and the other team will have to prevent them doing so, this gives it a simple and easy to understand goal. Making sure the goal is simple for everyone to understand is crucial for a good esports game.
Just by making your game simple doesn’t mean the gameplay should also be simple. To have a successful esports game, it should also offer deep gameplay. When the game has depth, it will create emergent gameplay. A few simple mechanics that could lead to a variety of strategies to be discovered and developed. This element can help make a game always fresh and interesting to new and long existing players. Furthermore, this can keep players engage into the game even for audiences watching.
One example is Dota 2, which it has over a hundred heroes in the game. Each heroes are unique with their own abilities. Adding in the maps and choice of heroes of their opponents, a player will always have different gameplay and strategies in order to win. This is what makes Dota 2 simple but also deep in gameplay.
Apart from that, requiring pure skills in your game is one of the elements of a good esports game. A game that is based mostly on luck will not be so interesting to spectate since the outcome will be random. It will just be the same as watching the outcome of a coin flip and then announce who is the winner. It will be frustrating to watch winners win only by luck. To make it interesting, your game’s mechanics and winning outcome has to be based on the skills of the players, this will then improve the competitiveness of the game.
Imagine watching an esports tournament where players compete in Monopoly. The outcome of the game will rely heavily on the dice rolls. If the player lands on the right box, they will have the upper hand over the other players. This game will be extremely boring to watch as the skills doesn’t outperform luck in the game. Hence losing competitive players and audiences to spectate.
Every good esports game will be balance in what way or another. It is acknowledge that is impossible to reach a true balance in games. Although the closer it is, the more interesting it is to watch. By creating a well-balanced game, it will only seem to be fair whatever the player chose or used to compete in the game.
In fighting games, some characters may have a upper hand in all the other characters in terms of their damage or abilities. This will create a favourable strategy in the game that can help anyone win most of the time. If the developers do not re-balance the game, everyone will be using the same character to compete and eventually make the game repetitive in esports. No new strategies will emerge or evolve, audience will stop watching and the esports die.
This is some of the design elements that can make a good esports game, if you are interested to learn more about developing a game for esports in the long term, contact us at Gameka. Read here for the second part of this article of designing an esports game.