#ESILondon – ‘The future’s bright, the future’s mobile esports?’ recap

Esports is young, but it’s crystal clear that computers are the prominent platform for the majority of the titles in the industry. Nonetheless, another platform is creeping up and almost every adult has it on them at all times: mobile phones.

To discuss if – and why – mobile esports is the next big thing, Esports Insider assembled an expert panel at ESI London in September. Here’s some of what happened at ‘The future’s bright, the future’s mobile esports?‘.

Moderator
Dave Roberts, Associate Director of Bastion

Speakers
Kasperi Kivistö, Esports Manager of Critical Force

Deborah Mensah-Bonsu, Community Manager at Space Ape Games
Jan Hoffmann, Senior Team Management at Fnatic

Mobile esports
Left: Dave Roberts, Bastion, Deborah Mensah-Bonsu, Space Ape Games, Kasperi Kivistö, Critical Force, Jan Hoffman, Fnatic. Credit: jakhowardphoto

Deborah Mensah-Bonsu believes mobile esports are the future of the industry because of how accessible these games are – an overwhelming amount of people have a mobile phone with an internet connection. There’s a disparity between such popularity between the East and the West because of a generational shift, in her opinion, as those in the West are used to PC and console gaming, where those from the East grew up with mobile gaming.

She explained that the industry hasn’t yet found a title that has a sufficient skill gap and appeal to spectators because of a shallow library of games. As more developers enter the scene, more titles will be produced and it’s likely at this point an incredibly-popular mobile esport will be produced.

“Not everybody can afford a high-end PC, but everyone has a phone.” – Deborah Mensah-Bonsu

Kasperi Kivistö explained that while he thinks mobile esports will continue to rise in popularity, it won’t necessarily take over from PC and console. There’s room for all platforms as each game has its own audience and fanbase.

South America has an unrivalled level of enthusiasm for mobile esports according to Kivistö, and Mensah-Bonsu echoed this statement by saying Latin America is definitely a hot area to be tapped in to.

Jan Hoffman revealed that Fnatic is closely observing the mobile faction of the esports industry and does believe there’s a future there. As it stands, mobile gaming is most popular in Asia and Fnatic considers itself a global organisation – it has an Asian Dota 2 team and a North American Clash Royale squad, for example.

Hoffman went on to say that he thinks storylines are an important aspect of getting people to tune into games in general – mobile and otherwise – despite the length of a match. He did note, however, that when you stream from your phone that you’re restricted. If you stream from a PC, you can have numerous monitors and multi-task, which is a huge advantage over mobile.

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