Over the years, playing games has developed from hobby status to an activity that can actually earn the gamer serious money – like a new model of self-employed business. Of course, people have always made money from playing games like poker and blackjack for a living, but now this option is available to video gamers as well through live streaming and eSports tournaments. The latter in particular is a growth industry, but what makes for a really good eSports game?
Staying up to date
This is definitely one of the crucial factors that separate the really successful eSports games from the ones that fizzle, as when players are competing for money at big events they do not want to encounter bugs and other problems. Thus the top eSports games are made by developers who pay attention to what gamers are saying and fix problems rapidly. This responsiveness helped to make Halo an eSports phenomenon, but even that didn’t stop its creators Bungie from failing to achieve the same success with Destiny 2 when they struggled to resolve issues with the game.
The balance between ease and difficulty
One thing that all of the very top eSports titles have in common is that they tread the careful balance between being easy enough for anyone to learn the basics, while also being very hard to really become good at. This is true of Halo, but also of a game such as League of Legends, which mixes base level accessibility with elements that require serious practice and skill to gain mastery of. Getting the balance right is essential, because if a game is too difficult for hobby game players, few will stick with it, but if anyone can excel at it, there will be no chance for dedicated eSports players to rise to the top.
Provide quality spectator mode
However good the game you have created is, if the spectator mode is lacking, it will never be a good eSports game because the watching aspect is as important to eSports as the playing. An example of getting this part right is Dota 2, which provides the spectators with detailed information about the progress of each player, as well as a map of the entire game territory.
Aim for widespread appeal
Even if you make every part of your game a winner, if it does not attract a big audience it will not become a major eSports game because the big tournaments are built around this kind of mass appeal. From the legendary Fortnite to Dota 2, the games that have really set the world of eSports alight are ones that developed a large community of fans and players around them.
It is possible for a game to emerge from an unknown company and launch them and a gamer to eSports fame and riches, while a title from an established company falls flat. Success in eSports is about meeting the criteria listed above rather than past reputation.