There’s a growing sensation in the iPhone world, one that’s been around for Macs and Windows-based computers for quite some time: eSports. Millions of viewers tune in to watch championship events between gamers on Macs and Windows-based computers, and that trend is starting to take off with Vainglory, the iOS- and Android-exclusive multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game. Let’s look at what the hype is all about, and how you can tune in to check out the action.
What the Heck is eSports?
Competitive gaming, or eSports, has become a huge draw, with tens of millions of dollars in combined tournament prize pools just between League of Legends and DOTA 2. Other titles, as diverse as Street Fighter and Call of Duty, also support large competitive communities and organizations. Top-ranked players with plenty of skill battle it out both online and at events around the world. The action is often live-streamed, and nearly 10 million viewers watch gaming streams each day through Twitch alone.
In 2017, market intelligence firm Newzoo predicts that 385 million people worldwide will tune into eSports streams. Total revenue of the industry is expected to reach something to the tune of $696 million. By 2020, that revenue figure is supposed to hit $1.5 billion.
eSports on the iPhone?
That’s right, the trend has hit mobile devices, especially with Super Evil Megacorp’s hit MOBA title Vainglory. While the competition hasn’t yet reached as high as it has for the previously-mentioned games, there’s still a huge following around the title’s competitive play. In December 2016, the game’s first-ever World Championships brought 12 teams to Los Angeles to compete for a total prize pool of $120,000. Vainglory’s 2017 season is well underway, but there’s still plenty of time to start following it and picking your favorite teams.
Understand this. When you watch an eSports match, you aren’t just watching people playing games on their devices. First of all, the players have mastered the strategies and tactics of all aspects of the games, working together to take out enemy heroes and towers. Even more interesting, the matches feature analysts and commentators breaking down every bit of the battle before, during, and after the event. It’s much like watching physical sports on television.
Sounds Great, so How Can I Tune In?
You won’t usually find eSports on any of your television networks, but that doesn’t mean it’s a challenge to watch. You can view the live events through portals like Twitch, and Vainglory developer Super Evil MegaCorp makes saved videos of all of the matches available on the Vainglory eSports YouTube channel. You can find out when the streams are happening, for the online season play as well as the larger live events, through the official Vainglory eSports Twitter account.