The Overwatch League is a pretty big deal. It's an attempt to really push eSports into the mainstream, by turning them into, well, regular sports. But slightly less sweaty. It's a lavish affair with teams from all around the world, and more fanfare than your average LAN party.
Now, currently mobile dominates the world in terms of revenue share. It accounts for just over 40% of all the money spent on games. That's the biggest single slice of the pie, and around ten percent more than console gaming makes. So why doesn't mobile gaming have its own Overwatch League?
It's not like mobile doesn't have the games for it. Clash Royale is, as I type this, the fourth highest grossing app on the App Store. Games like Guns of Boom are played regularly by people all around the world. Game Insight is even working on an eSports mode for the game. Vainglory has had a stab at the eSports thing too.
Hell, even Hearthstone, with its competitive push and non-gouging free to play model could make the transition. But why isn't it something that we're seeing? This corner of the market is big money, or at least it could be, and big money is something that big developers like to put in their big pockets.
There are obstacles of course. For starters, there's the inherently mobile nature of mobile gaming. Clue's in the name. While there are big games on the App Store, some of them are designed to be played in brief blasts. And that takes some of the excitement out of watching competitive gaming.
Then there's the bias that exists among a big section of the gaming community. Mobile games aren't real games apparently. There's a stigma regarding pay-to-win experiences, and if you only take a cursory glance at the App Store you could be blamed for thinking that it's choking on shovelware.
Of course, we know better than that. We know there are some brilliant, innovative games for iPhone. And we know that people are going to get excited to watch really good players playing them really well.
For me, mobile games have always been the arena where everyone's welcome. Sure, there are free to play garbage holes, but there are also brilliant hardcore experiences that deserve some recognition. And what better way to do that than pushing them into the eSports spotlight?
Will it happen? I have no idea, but it's something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months. Competitive gaming is on the rise, and I expect that mobile devs and publishers are going to be looking at its potential and licking their lips. But, you know, not in a weird way.