The first instance of eSports was recorded way back in 1980, when the Space Invaders Championship was held in the US for more than 10000 challengers. We’ve come a long way since then, and over time, the genre of electronic sports has expanded by leaps and bounds. We’re talking about an industry that generated $500 million in revenue last year. Alongside this meteoric rise, there has also been a regular shift in the kind of games that are played in these competitions.
While first-person shooters and MOBA titles dominate the eSports scene, fighting games and even card games are being indulged in a lot these days in such events. What this proves is that any game which is competitive and holds entertainment potential has a good chance of entering the eSports realm.
So what about MMOs? Why are they still struggling to be the main attractions at eSports events despite the fact that millions of people are playing them at any given time? There are several different reasons for this, but the main one is definitely the fact that MMOs are usually built with a Player vs. Environment (PvE) perspective.
What this means is that the Player vs. Player (PvP) aspect which is the portion in which eSports gamers will compete, tends to receive less attention. And there’s no one to blame here since the core appeal of MMOs has always been exploration, quests and other cooperative activities rather than competitive matches.
Another thing to remember is the fact that most MMOs are RPGs as well. This brings with it character progression which makes it very difficult to arrange balanced matches between players.
It’s hence that if a developer really wants their MMO to be considered in eSports competitions, they would have to build the game with an immense amount of focus on PvP. This has been the case with games like World of Tanks and World of Warships, to name a few. But they are definitely be losing when it comes to appealing to the traditional audience of this genre which yearns for PvE action more than anything else. And this audience is much larger in number than those demanding PvP.
Things are not entirely bad for the journey of MMOs into the eSports arena; you do see a number of competitions embracing certain games from time to time. But they are a genre that is lagging seriously behind in comparison to others. We can see several solutions popping up in the future to bridge this gap, and here’s hoping we’ll see some of them soon.