Many games which grew in popularity and created a considerable fan base have started thinking about ways of keeping their fans entertained not only whilst they are in the game, playing it, but also outside of it, watching it. Online competitions, tournaments, and streaming platforms have all been used to generate more attention and even more entertainment for the games.
One of these games which are considerably popular, having over 500 million downloads on Google Play Store and annual revenues of over 700 million dollars, Clash of Clans, has started their very own World Clash Of Clans Championship.
Professional Clash of Clans player, who was participated in many online clash competitions, Shant Hovhanesian, said: “It is a natural way of doing business. When your game is doing very good and you are making a lot of money, you can afford expanding it and getting to the next level. To do this you have to get creative in a way by investing in events which surround your game.”
In Clash of Clans, there are online tournament almost every day. Prizes usually range from virtual currency which can be used in the game, to gift cards and cash. The biggest cash event the game has ever had was the 2020 World Championships, where 8 teams of 5 members competed for 1,000,000 dollars. It is clear by now that the game has become more than simply a game, it has become a sport. And many people do treat it as a sport.
When asked about the way he treats the game and if he considers it as a sport, Shant Hovhanesian said: “I did treat it as a sport for a long time. I wanted to win when I participated in tournaments. What I used to do was have a huge gallery of many folders on my computer where I would put videos, notes, information of other participants, new strategies, new ways of approaching defences and everything else you could think of, simply to not be left out and not know something.”
The video game sector is immense. In fact, it is larger than the movie and music industry combined, and it is only growing. Though it doesn’t get the same attention that the movie and music industry does, there are over two billion gamers across the world. Because of this massive popularity, non-gaming sites such as Facebook or Google are trying to get involved in it by offering streaming services. With these new ways of sharing and getting your game known to people around the world, it should come with no surprise that companies will get in on this and invest in various events for publicity reasons. When this happens, the games have to change as well to some extent, in order to please the investors, therefore becoming more professional (investopedia, 2020).
When asked about how the investors shape the big tournaments of the game, Shant Hovhanesian, said: “It helps competitors with deals and money for product placement in the form of wearing a t-shirt with their logos or drinking a product of theirs while of stage or any of the sorts. I believe they do influence the way people act and behave a bit, but I don’t see their involvement in the game as being detrimental to the game’s mechanics, rules, or enjoyment.”
Another game which has become more professional, and out of which people can make a career, is Player Unkown’s Battleground (PUBG). This game has grown in popularity very quickly after its release in March 2017. It too has done the same thing regarding creating tournaments, involving investors, creating publicity and expanding the game experience. The game has been doing great in this aspect as only in the month of April of this year it had 12 major tournaments which substantial sums of money (ggscore, 2021).
Former professional PUBG player, Joenathan Bills, describes the evolution of the game as being progressive and smart. In his own words: “The game had to get here. It was simply too big to rely only on constant updates and game mods to keep interest in it. It is also an intelligent move as the game experience extends to the ‘real world’, as you might say, of the viewer of the competitions. The game is making its way into the lives of not just the players, but also the fans of the game, or even people that cannot afford to play it at a high level, as they do not have the funds. Trust me, I met a lot of people like that!”
In the gaming industry, the jump from a simple enjoyable game that is chill and fun to full on competitions, duels and job-like way of approaching the game seems to happen when a specific game gets large enough to appeal to the general public. After this happens, funds are invested by various organizations and media attention is drawn upon it to increase the game’s popularity. For this increase to happen, you do need tournaments, which people take very seriously, starting from the players to the organizers. Therefore, professionalism ensues.
“It is true that such jumps are present and happen to many games, not just PUBG. I believe that this is true for the majority of games that want to continue to stay relevant in the gaming industry of today,” said Joenathan Bills.
When asked whether such changes to already popular games are positively impacting the games themselves and the gaming industry as a whole, Joenathan’s reply was: “I think it does because the games need to stay in the face of people. In other words, they need to keep being noticeable and known to the public. To do that, you have to resort to new ways of approaching the games. And it’s also very fun!”
Games around the world have always been faced with the truth of relevancy. In order for a game to stay relevant and for people to continue playing it, it has to present itself as being of value. And what other better way of doing that than simply creating online championships, getting the media involved, allowing publicity and streaming everything on the internet? Games such as Clash Of Clans and PUBG are only a few examples of the large number of games out there which do the same thing and have done the same thing for years. Because of this, even today they stay relevant, people play them, they watch them, and they talk about them.
Perhaps the most interesting change in the video game industry is the expanding demographics of gamers. With more people playing games, creating demand for more immersive entertainment, and looking for easier ways to access games, the future of the video game industry looks bright (investopedia, 2020).
Article photo: Lucie Liz on Pexels
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