The biggest eSports games on the market today are StarCraft II, Dota 2 and League of Legends.
But these games haven’t made it as eSports titles by accident. The likes of Blizzard, Valve, Riot Games and Ubisoft have created content, features and modes designed specifically for the competitive gaming market.
"Professional competition is something that is really important to the Dota 2 and Counter-Strike audiences, so we have spent some of our time building tools and features that make the experience of watching games both more entertaining and more accessible," says Valve’s Erik Johnson.
"There are a bunch of reasons for hosting The International every year for Dota 2, but one of them is to force us to be in the position of running our own tournament like everyone else, so we end up spending time building tools to make tournaments easier to operate for others.
"Over the past couple of years we’ve been really interested in all kinds of user-generated content, and we feel like the professional gaming scene is another form of that. The Dota 2 audience is pretty good at letting us know when we are on the right track with how we’re moving the game forward, and they have been pretty clear the professional competition is something they are interested in."
It’s not just about the competitors, however. eSports titles need to look after spectators, too.
The ability for broadcasters to move easily throughout the map and get into the middle of the action is vital. And that’s something Ubisoft developer Nadeo has taken on-board for its new eSports title, ShootMania.
ShootMania was built from the ground up for spectators as much as it was for the players,” explains the director for Nadeo Live, Anne Blondel Jouin.
You have the basic services of course, such as having a full spectator mode which allows you to follow each player or have a top down view and so on. But the spectating aspect of games has to be thought out in the game design as well, and one of the reason ShootMania’s Elite mode has proven to be popular in eSports is that it is the easiest and most exciting to follow for spectator, focusing on individual performance of one attacker against three defenders.
We believe that in the very near future there will be many more people watching video games than actually playing them. We want to give players the chance to get as close as possible to becoming a Pro Gamer. This is what we call eSports 2.0 – giving players the tools to build their own teams with their buddies as well as their own tournaments where they can invite whoever they want to participate.”