Esports on smartphones: The future of the industry?

Bayes Esports writes for Esports Insider to discuss the rapid rise and future of esports on smartphones. 

Image credit: Shutterstock

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When talking about esports, generally it’s about games being played on a professional level across PCs or gaming consoles. 

However, when individuals delve into the gaming industry, there is another platform that stands tall over both in terms of popularity and generated revenue: Smartphones.

In Germany, nearly 20m people regularly use smartphones to play video games, generating approximately €1.8bn revenue in the process. That’s roughly 33 percent more than the console gaming industry. In Africa, 95 percent of gamers use their smartphone to play video games rather than a PC or gaming console.

So what’s the deal then with esports on smartphones? Can the industry’s biggest events soon be played out on mobile phones? Is the platform quite simply not suited for games to be played at the highest possible level?

We at Bayes Esports are here to provide some answers.

First and foremost, it should be noted that there are no technical limitations that could stop mobile games from becoming major esports titles. 

The servers mobile games and PC games are played on are very similar in design and functionality. That also means that official game data can be collected just as well from mobile games as it can from PC or console games. 

Theoretically, it would absolutely be possible for mobile game data to be relayed to an esports data provider, such as Bayes Esports. This data can then still be used to better viewer experiences, calculate betting odds or help teams and players analyse performances. 

With the right game and the right audience, there is no reason why an esport played on smartphones couldn’t work.

What’s the reason then?

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If this question was posed a couple of years ago, one answer could be that there was no game out there suited for esports. Games on smartphones were meant to be casual, to be played on the bus or in bed. 

Fast forward to now though, and with games like League of Legends: Wild Rift, Clash of Clans, Arena of Valor, PUBG Mobile, or Mobile Legends: Bang Band are all making an impact on the scene. Moreover, Garena Free Fire recorded the largest peak viewership for an esports event in 2021 (excluding Chinese viewers). 

In 2021, there are quite a few games available on the mobile games market that show promising esports potential and that are immensely popular. This ultimately highlights that gamers do indeed like to be competitive, even on their phones.

With the technical side not being an issue and competitive games becoming more and more popular, the only thing truly missing to make smartphone esports become a main stake in the industry is experience and exposure.

Game developers rarely develop games with both longevity and esports in mind. Gamers do not yet see their phone as a device to play highly competitive games on and, in turn, most games are developed with the more casual gamer in mind.

As a result, the games that do develop an esports scene are few and far between and are unable to change smartphone’s image of being a casual platform. Thus causing an endless cycle.

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What does it take then for smartphone esports to become relevant?

Just one esports-tailored game to go global. One game from one developing team willing to venture into esports being in the right place at the right time capturing the hearts of esports fans worldwide. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that the ‘one’ title isn’t already out, with the likelihood being that a global esports mobile title will happen sooner rather than later.

However, when it does, Bayes Esports will be there.

From our sponsor Bayes Esports