Major League Gaming is primarily known for providing a competitive gaming league for PC and console titles, where the traditional core gamer set enjoys to play at high levels of competition. However, mobile gaming has not really been a part of this community, until very recently, as Gameloft has partnered with MLG for sponsored competitions in two of their recent first-person shooters: N.O.V.A. 3 AND Modern Combat 3.
Competitions for prizes are taking place as part of the Xperia Mobile Gaming Arena. Yes, it’s sponsored by a brand of Android phones, but iOS users can enter and win as well. The multiplayer in these games is cross-platform, so players from all over the mobile spectrum will be competing. Interestingly, users of the Xperia Play Android phone may be at a slight advantage, as it features physical buttons and joystick trackpads that can be used with the game.
Right now, different criteria are being used for different competitions. For example, the first competition that ran until August 26th was one for most kills. The winner gets $250, second place $100, third place $50. MLG and XMGA claim to be giving away over $5000 worth of prices over the life of the contests, which will include both N.O.V.A. 3 and Modern Combat 3. The leaderboards also include listings for wins, headshots, highest kill streak, and captured flags, so future competitions could be based on other factors.
Anyone can sign up to participate. All they need to do is to sign up for an MLG account from their website, and link it to their Gameloft Live account that they’re already using for playing online, and they’ll be entered into the XMGA event when they play N.O.V.A. 3. There are no special playlists or rulesets to play in, so players just need to play the game and do well in order to possibly win prizes.
I spoke with Andrew “Bravo” Dudynsky, who’s a professional gamer, coach, and commentator who has been playing N.O.V.A. 3. He claims that “Mobile games have gotten a bad rap amongst competitive and hardcore gamers for several reasons. Traditionally, the controls, user interface, and graphics have been sub-par in most mobile titles. With a game like N.O.V.A. 3, however, you’ve got familiar controls and UI…and graphics that create a genuinely immersive experience that still provides an ”arcade-shooter“ feel. The N.O.V.A. series was the first mobile shooter that made me say ‘wow.’”
With this being a major recognition of mobile gaming as a serious endeavor, I asked “Bravo” if he thinks competitive gaming and mobile gaming will be crossing paths in the future. He believes “we’ll see more developers focusing on competitive mobile titles - this will result in more competitors, more attention, and ultimately more professionally ran tournaments, like the XMGA from MLG.”
While it may be some time before these games are showcased as major competitive games, at least this is a headway into the door. As well, the games had a presence at Sony’s booth at the upcoming MLG event in Raleigh. Baby steps for serious mobile gaming.