If you are a gamer there is no way that you have not heard about World of Warcraft (or WoW as it is mostly called). It’s one of the most successful video games of all time. WoW was released on November 23, 2004, and became an instant success. Millions of players signed up and created their online character to take part in what was then the world’s largest community of players that simultaneously played in the same world. The acronym MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) was born and has been a success ever since. Thanks to the birth of this gaming genre we today have a thing called eSports.
The now popular competitive gaming events which are referred to as eSports (Electronic Sports) events are rapidly becoming a massive industry. Gamers are becoming professional gamers and the competitive landscape is something that was unheard of a few years back. eSports have become so popular that some schools around the world are even teaching eSports as a profession.
The Growth Potential Of eSports
For people in the US and in Europe, eSports might not be a thing that they hear about on a daily basis and when looking at the numbers it might not be such a headscratcher. 54% of eSports enthusiasts are actually from Asia where the industry is amazingly popular and several times larger than in Europe and the US.
There are, however, a lot of professional eSports players both in Europe and the US. We have OpTic Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Team SoloMid and Cloud9 just to name a few very successful eSports teams.
[pullquote]The eSports industry is growing exponentially and even though the eSports industry can’t compete with the sports industry just yet it’s showing incredible potential.[/pullquote] For example, while all sports have a calculated revenue per fan topping $56.00, eSports is currently calculated at $3.00 per fan. Estimations have been made, however, that eSports have a growth potential of topping $7.00 per fan this year (2017). By 2020 that number is calculated at a potential $15.00 per fan which would set the value of the business at an estimated $3 billion.
Currently, the eSports industry is sitting at around half that value but, as said, the growth potential is significant. The growth depends on the number of games and players that make it into the competitive gaming industry. Which those games are and what teams will dominate them only the future can tell. The potential is there, the right games, players, and fanbases just need to find their way there as well.
Growing Competitive Gaming With MMORPGs
Having read quite a few eSports articles about where the industry might be heading, they all keep talking about the expansion of MMORPGs. Will this subgenre have a place in the eSports industry and how could it come to effect the industry as a whole? The answer to that question is a tough one as MMORPG is a hard game model to make competitive. The reasons for that are many but a few are because of the leveling mechanics and, of course, the loot system which would make any competitive events unfair and boring to watch.
However, where there is a will there is a way and that becomes evident when you look at some of the ideas floating around out there. One, in particular, has come to be called “MMORPG on fast-forward” and is described in detail over at Plarium, home to a number of popular MMORPG games. The simplest way to describe their approach is to say that they are taking on the eSports industry head on with really creative and game-changing competitive MMORPG game concepts.
In short, the idea is that the rate of which the character levels is sped up, significantly. This will make MMORPGs more competitive and fun to watch as new players can join the game without feeling underpowered, outranked or constantly get ganked just because they are not powerful enough.
The Future Of Competitive MMORPGs
There is no doubt that MMORPGs will become a lasting genre in the eSports industry, that is clear. The question is really how to make it competitive and fun to watch without losing the MMORPG aspect of the games themselves. There are several gaming mechanics being developed at this very moment that could become the next massive success in the eSports industry and we will just have to wait and see which one of them will be the most suitable.
Will we see games alike RuneScape, EverQuest or World of Warcraft entering the competitive gaming scene in the coming years? It’s a tough question to answer, but my guess would be yes. The potential profits of launching a game, especially an MMORPG game, that becomes a popular eSPorts game are significant and every gaming studio knows this. The question should really be, who will be the first gaming studio to first push MMORPG to the right corner of competitive gaming?
MMORPGs are too popular not to get its very own subgenres and one of them will definitely be competitive. Predicting the future of MMORPGs’ place in competitive gaming is anything but easy so, unfortunately, we’ll just have to leave it to time to tell.
If you have anything to add to this story, feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We are always interested in hearing what you readers think. When will MMORPGs become a part of the competitive gaming landscape and in what form will it be?