Still overshadowed by PC gaming, console esports could expand a lot in the following years.
Cover via MLG.
The recent acquisition of Beyond Entertainment, the dedicated console gaming news and community website by giant PC gear and accessories provider Logitech confirms its inclusive approach when it comes to establishing itself as a major sponsor within the esports industry.
By acquiring ASTRO Gaming back in July 2017 to help reinforce its range of gaming equipment and more particularly high-quality headsets for all major platforms, Logitech logically acquired Beyond which had already been working alongside ASTRO since 2014. The quality gear from ASTRO and the visibility Beyond Entertainment provides to the console gaming scene is a way for Logitech to cement its place in the esports industry without omitting console gamers.
Such partnerships prove that there is a concern to ensure that even though most console players won’t ever play at the professional level, especially in the games which have a PC version, they still feel included within the esports community.
PC games make up the majority of the current scene but console makers are understanding the stakes of developing console esports.
Esports viewership is widely dominated by PC games with the MOBA, RTS and FPS genres. Huge titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Starcraft II and more recently Overwatch all gather tens of thousands of viewers on streaming platforms like Twitch and Youtube Gaming, especially during the major international events.
As a console gamer myself who had my time on PC with League of Legends and strategy games in the past, it is undeniable that all the genres mentioned above that are currently doing so well as esports are best suited for a mouse and keyboard input. It’s therefore not a surprise that the ‘pro level’ of these games takes places on PC – it wouldn’t make much sense to have people compete on CS: GO or Dota 2 with controllers when using a mouse and keyboard allows for much more precise and fast mechanics.
That being said, esports was born on console and is still the preferred platform for the sports and fighting games, from Fifa to Super Smash Bros Melee. While late to the esports party, Nintendo will be hosting the first official Super Smash Bros tournament and Splatoon 2 World championship at E3 in mid-June.
Shooters still have scenes at the highest level of play with iconic series like Call of Duty, Halo or even Gears of War. Sony is the exclusive platform for the CWL (CoD World League) since 2016 and PS4 players have been able to compete in ESL tournaments directly from their device the same year.
Microsoft mainly relies on the longevity of the Halo and Gears of War competitive scenes with the Halo Championship Series and the Gears Pro Circuit to attract more fans and grow the communities.
Other games such as Rocket League and Trackmania Turbo see the best players compete using controllers but so far, console esports still don’t attract nowhere near the same mount of viewers the big MOBAs and FPS’ do.
By focusing more and more on a few first-party titles and improving their platform services so that participating, following and watching competitive play is easier for the users, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are looking to create a larger and larger place for themselves in the growing esports industry.
Fortnite’s commitment to competitive play next year has the potential to grow the console fraction of the esports scene to the point where PC and console could both have a top-level scene in the same game.
With the $100,000,000 EPIC Games said it will provide for Fortnite esports tournament prize pools in the 2018 – 2019 season, a question that has crossed the console community’s mind is whether or not ‘official’ competitive play will also take place on console. Seeing what EPIC has done to encourage as many people as possible to play their star game, (bringing it to mobile, making the game overall very accessible, the cross-platform feature, etc) it would seem very illogical not to see the developer allocate some of its resources to structure competitive play on console. EPIC hasn’t given a platform breakdown of its player base, but as the largest online multiplayer game at the moment on console, it’s safe to assume console players are in the millions.
Right now, no notable esports organizations have picked up any console players for a potential Fortnite division, unlike for PC where teams such as FaZe Clan and TSM have already picked up a full roster of four. However, competing on console isn’t impossible. Websites such as UMGgaming.com, Checkmategaming.com or Glory4gamers.com allow players to play in a more competitive way and environment than public matches by letting them organize tournaments and wager matches to which players looking for better opposition can enter.
NICKMERCS, Fortnite’s largest console streamer on Twitch and former professional Gears of Wars player back in the day has been competing via the UMG gaming website for several years on the Call of Duty franchise and is now doing the same on the battle royale game. His recent performance in the first edition of Keemstar’s weekly Fortnite tournament ‘Friday Fortnite’ organized with UMG and featuring both streamers and competitive players proved console players can compete too. Partnering with streamer SypherPK, the duo managed to take first place, receiving praise and acknowledgement from his opponents and the community.
Do you think console esports can get any bigger than it already is? Would you like to see a larger part of the gaming community be represented and recognized at the highest level?
Let us know below!