As with any mass event, even electronic competitions need a method to reach their audience. Initially the participation in the events was bound to the physical presence of the spectator, given the skepticism of the televisions (which still persists, but begins to waver) in guaranteeing a coverage service. Slowly however things went better; if initially Youtube allowed fans to relive Pro-player performances in live events, it was with the advent of Twitch.tv that the community finally found the medium capable of conveying the world of electronic competition. Twich is a streaming platform, which allows users to watch their favorite players live or watch any video game event. Since 2012 Twitch has seen an increase of 35 million monthly users, reaching the current share of 55 million, with peaks of 8 million users connected simultaneously.
Numbers on the move that according to the latest statistics show no sign of abating, and have attracted the interest of companies like Google and Amazon (who recently battled for the portal). Thanks to this site it is possible not only to follow the most important events live, but you can also watch the training of our favorite players, creating an affection similar to the one generated, in the world of traditional sports, for teams and athletes, also bringing in video games the concept of “typhoid”.
Given the mind-boggling numbers, even many television stations are timidly starting to turn on their interest in video games, just as many other portals on the Twitch line, such as Hitbox or Gaming Live, have come to light, which help to ensure electronic competitions an indispensable coverage service.
What are the most competitive games?
With the flourishing of the MMOs first and then of the MOBAs, the concept of team play has also been strengthened, with an evident evolution of competitiveness from that exclusively individual of the beginning (player VS machine to get a score), to the opposition of two or more players (FPS tournaments, the most popular between the 90s and the early 2000s) up to the form that today is the most popular, or games that require great team spirit and synergy to get the better of the opponents.
It must be remembered that the concept of competitiveness (that is, a game that with its balance and mechanics brings out the skill of the players) is not necessarily automatically associated with the world of programming: for a player to be defined as “Pro” it is necessary that this he receives a sufficient economic return at least to his livelihood, making him a professional.
The professional circuit, at any level and of any kind, is regulated by the dynamics of supply and demand, so a game must have a large number of users and spectators in order to attract sponsors, who will finance those who fight on the of the competitive scene. These two concepts, competitiveness and programming, tend, for obvious reasons, almost always to coincide, but they are not synonymous at all.
Although it is impossible to number which games can offer competitive possibilities, since there are tens of thousands of titles on which we organize the most varied tournaments, with or without prizes, we can try to outline what are some of the requirements that a game must have to be able to aspire to such legitimacy:
– It starts on equal terms: players must be able to start from a substantial level of parity during the competition. Therefore, games in which the “farm” or purchases confer advantages must be excluded.
–Interactivity with other players: the phase in which the player competes alone for a score is now out of date. Nowadays real electronic competitions take place between players in the flesh, better if in teams.
–Mouse and keyboard: it is not a mandatory prerogative, and it is not said that in the future it will always be this way, but it is easy to see that almost all of the world of eSport relies on the PC as a gaming machine.
–Free to play is better: although it is not a net distinction, it is now clear that the free-to-play formula clearly favors the affection from the public, necessary to generate an important following. It is no coincidence that among the 5 games whose competitions have made available the highest prize money, four are Free to Play. If it is difficult to make a complete list of games that offer competitive opportunities, it is very easy to draw up a list of those who have established themselves on the scene.
They are certainly the kind of the moment, whose greatest exponents in the competitive circuit are certainly the League of Legends, Dota 2 and Smite triptych. If the first is the video game that can count on the largest player base ever (over 32 million active players), Valve’s game has certainly overtaken the competition as regards competitive and professional possibilities, without forgetting the latest arrival , Smite, on which the developers are investing a lot to make it emerge in the eSports scene. It should also be emphasized that a new title will soon appear on the scene, Heroes of the Storm, to which the major multigaming companies are already interested.
RTS (Real Time Strategy) is a genre that has seen the pinnacle of its fortune in the early twenty-first century, whose popularity is now held almost exclusively by Starcraft 2, the game that, in addition to Dota 2, counts on greater number of professional players, even if almost exclusively in Asia (where it can be considered a real social phenomenon). It is a game with immense competitive possibilities, which requires highly developed reflexes and tactical organization. To highlight how high the requirements for competing at high levels on this game are there is a study by Simon Fraser University, which, to show that the human brain denotes a decrease in reflexes beyond the age of 24 (it is thousandths of second), he studied the Starcraft players, and how their careers begin to decline with just that age.
The First Person Shooter were the first games to outline the figure of the pro-player, a professional videogamer who can count on huge revenues thanks to his activity. From the first FPS Arena, like Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament, there are many titles that have offered tournaments of international scope. Today the major exponent is the Call of Duty and Counter Strike: Global Offensive series; while the first can count on a vast base of players, the second, thanks to a gameplay and an extremely developed balance, guarantees a very high level of competitiveness.
The only real MMO that has ever had true competitive aspirations is World of Warcraft. Between 2000 and 2010 the number of players was so vast as to inevitably attract the interest of many sponsors, who signed important contracts with the best guilds of the moment. Although the situation has been relatively cool in recent years, it is still possible to see guilds from all over the world challenging each other to score the first kill a few minutes before their opponents. Without forgetting a PvP sector still among the best in circulation.
Generally famous thanks to the coin-ups of the 1980s, it remains a niche sector but very active in the competitive circuit, although the figures involved are not particularly relevant. The biggest tournaments in the world take place in Asia, where the genre is more followed, but also many European multigaming host a section dedicated to fighting games, especially Tekken and Street Fighter.