A quick summary
Like I said previously, it wasn't always this way. In the past, Valve was really the only company keeping in touch with parts of their competitive scene, seeing Counter-Strike: Source and CS 1.6 updated frequently, alongside developer support of global competitions.
These days, it's a complete necessity. Below, I'll list a few different companies and how they spectacularly support their gaming titles - funnily enough, these are also the biggest PC eSports titles around the globe right now.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Skins, skins, skins and matchmaking. Since the implementation of skins and matchmaking, CS:GO has seen a massive improvement in player numbers, fan base and competitions. Not only does CS:GO enable teams to make money through these skin inclusions, tournament providers can make their mint too.
For big events, Valve will release different stickers of teams and tournament providers for customers to be able to place on their weaponry or on-sell, seeing the players and staff themselves see part of the profit made on this deal - alongside the fans themselves showing support for their favorite players.
Let's say your favorite team is Vox Eminor (Voxe) from Australia - when they're competing on the global stage, you're able to purchase keys to open sticker capsules that are given to you through purchase or by playing the game. The money generated from these Voxe sticker drops will be split between Valve's profit portion and the gaming teams themselves. It's said that if your gaming team makes it into a speciality 'legends' sticker pack, you can expect $400,000 to come your way.
We've also seen speciality skins introduced, with gaming teams like Fnatic releasing a series, alongside European tournament provider FACEIT funding a $40,000 tournament mostly with their range of weapon skins.
Defense of the Ancients 2
The granddad of "here, let me help you make money" and my favourite example of eSports support is that of Dota 2. They've trialled and implemented some extremely new ways of community support and mirrored parts of this into the CS:GO scene (which I've explained above).
There's quite a lot that Dota 2 do for their community, so here's a quick list of a few inclusions:
- Compendiums and The International
- Tournament tickets
- In-game shoutcasting
- Team pennants
Each year, Valve host its massive Dota 2 tournament called 'The International', in which they chip in $1.6 million of their own money toward the prize pool (alongside running it, paying for all costs for flights and accommodation plus more). However, as of recent, they've let the community help them make it bigger.
Besides Valve still putting in the money for their 2014 event, they released an in-game compendium, allowing gamers to pay $19.99 in order to have access to a bunch of in-game items and special skins, with $2.50 of this going directly into the prize pool. This compendium meant that the prize pool was raised from the original $1.6 million to a massive $10,930,698.
Valve also support a few different things like Team Pennants, which when purchased for 99c will see 25c donated directly to the team management - alongside displaying exactly how many pennant owners are supporting their team when watching live in-game. Whilst spectating, Valve opened up an option for players to listen to commentators through the live match as well as through replays, allowing for the casters to gain some respect and fan base, alongside educating listeners.
As for the smaller guys, Valve allows tournament tickets and items to be made and developer-approved. This means that fans can purchase tickets for an event, allowing them to watch the action live in-game, receive a speciality item and also help contribute to the tournament prize pool. There are plenty more features, options and support that Valve offers to the Dota 2 community, teams and tournaments - the above is just a few of the biggest and most interesting.
League of Legends
League of Legends follows a more publicly-traditional style of support, as seen throughout many mainstream 'real-life' sporting circles.
Their massive Championship Series (LCS) sees them basically 'own' the teams competing, meaning that not only does Riot offer them unparalleled management and marketing support, these teams and their managers are also offered a gaming salary and massive prize-pools for all events.
Riot prefers to do everything in-house. Rather than enabling tournaments to bring in a percentage-based revenue for the developer, they like to handle the projects, tournaments and skins themselves - meaning stellar production is completed each time. There's no saying which method is right or wrong when comparing this to Dota 2 - they're just both different. Both of these titles are extremely successful the casual and competitive scenes, so they must be both working fairly well!
There's plenty more things that you can do to ensure the gaming title you love makes it in the eSports and competitive gaming world, however, I've just listed a few facts and examples that I believe makes a big difference.
If you're looking for some stellar examples, the best thing to do is some research for yourself. Valve and Riot are two masterpiece examples that are often seen running or supporting hugely-successful gaming events that happen year-round, so jump on Twitch TV and check them out as they happen!
Hopefully this has given you at least a basic insight into why a game may be successful as an eSport title.
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