The Future of Mobile Esports

2021.04.27

Simon Mourgues

There is no argument that the video game industry has become huge. As we previously discussed in The Surprising Aver”Age” Gamer article we released, the gaming industry is expected to be worth $180.1 billion dollars this year, and there are billions of gamers around the globe. At the same time, we can see the continuous rise of Esports, with hundreds of millions of dollars being earned by pro players as prizes. For new gamers who wish to enter Esports tournaments, this may seem daunting. Most of the top players use dedicated custom built PCs or purchase expensive consoles and games for tournaments. Luckily for them, in a time where nearly everyone has a smartphone, Mobile Esports have started to emerge.  

Mobas and FPS

When it comes to Mobile Esports the most popular titles are either MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) or FPS titles. The most popular mobile esports titles are most often played in Asian countries such as India and Thailand, though they have gained popularity in EU and NA as well. Prize pool wise, PUBG Mobile is the most popular, with a 5 million dollar prize pool in 2019 and 2 million dollar prize pool in 2020. The popular PC title. PUBG, was adapted to suit mobile audiences in 2017, and quickly grew popular like CoD Mobile. In addition to the adaption FPS titles, Garena Free Fire released in 2017, and has gained most of  its popularity in Latin American, India, and Southeast Asia.

While FPS titles are quite popular, the second largest prize pool title in 2019 after PUBG Mobile, was Arena of Valor with a prize pool of above 2 million dollars in 2019 and half a million dollars in 2020. Arena of Valor was uniquely designed as a MOBA for the mobile platform and was released in 2016. It aimed to capture fans of the popular Dota 2 and League of Legends, both known for their huge Esports presence as well. The same year, Mobile League Bang Bang came out, and while they both competed for attention, ultimately Arena of Valor grew more popular.

The Future

The most popular Mobile Esports titles might’ve come out a while back, but it doesn’t mean that Mobile Esports aren’t evolving. Technology wise, most mobile gamers only need their smartphones, but there are different ways to play these titles. For example, one could use a tablet device to play, which may give an advantage due to their larger screen. More recently however, there are many gamers who use emulators, such as BlueStacks,  on their PC to run a mobile title. This allows them to use their mouse and sometimes keyboard to play the title, which is more comfortable for some users. In addition, this allows those who may not have access to a newer phone to play mobile titles. While this sounds advantageous, some titles have banned the use of emulators in tournaments such as PUBG, and actually has emulator users play on a separate server entirely.

There are also new popular titles which are releasing on mobile that are expected to grow in the esports world. The most anticipated title to do so would be Wild Rift, which is an adapted version of League of Legends for mobile. Just like LoL, there are ranks to rise up through, and tournaments have already been planned. With the title receiving over 32 million downloads I expect to see many more Wild Rift tournaments soon and a rise to Mobile Esports.

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