The eSports games that never became popular

Every publisher wants to have a flagship in its genre or just a popular esports game. And it’s not just that it’s very profitable. This is prestigious, increases the recognition of other products and is simply a way to form a very active and loyal audience for years to come. But it is also a very highly competitive environment and not all e-sports games manage to take their place on the “Olympus” of popularity.

Heroes of the storm

Heroes of the storm
Heroes of the Storm is definitely one of Blizzard’s biggest flops. After being announced at BlizzCon in 2010, the game was released 5 years later. For a company that has consistently asserted trends in the gaming industry, it would be strange not to have a modern MOBA game in 2015. One might think that Blizzard was late and DOTA 2 with LOL had already taken over the market, but the game was greeted, although without a stir, but very warmly.

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HOTS, although it could not compete on a par with Atlanteans of MOBA games, could keep its part of the audience calm: HGC prize money reached $ 1,000,000, which is very good, and attracted enough attention (up to 82,000 on broadcasts in 2016). At the same time, 10 – 12 tournaments were held during the season. But on December 13, 2018, Blizzard, in fact, without announcing a reason, announced that it would stop supporting the esports component of the game, and some of the employees would move on to develop other projects. This was a shock for the entire community and was discussed even by those who did not know about the game before. After that, obviously, popularity began to fall sharply, and the prize money of the resulting semi-professional and amateur tournaments did not exceed $ 26,000. Maybe HOTS simply did not pay for itself, or Blizzard assumed that it could be in equal competition with LOL and DOTA2. Or maybe pragmatically assessing the situation, the experts from the company did not see any prospects. In any case, the latest $ 1,000 tournament to date drew just 341 spectators at its peak. Heroes of the Storm is a game that has ceased to be popular not for external reasons, but by the decision of its publisher.

Artifact

Artifact
Artifact was released on November 28, 2018, and only after the release did it become known that the game would not be free-to-play. At the same time, ₽1,400 is only the first installment, since all modes with rewards were paid. And it is clear that against the background of Gwent and Hearthstone, this is simply inadequate. Since in the aforementioned ones, it was corny to farm on the cards you need, wasting time, not money. To some extent, we can say that the game came out in a rather successful period, because many old players are tired of Hearthstone, Magic the gathering wasdifficult for them, and Gwent was released only a month ago and did not have a formed audience. If anyone had a chance to take a solid position in the collectible card games market, it was then. Valve also promised almost immediately that they would host a tournament with $ 1,000,000 in prize money in early 2019, which was very reckless. The day after the game was released, there were 60,000 people online, a week later, 28,000, and at the peak at the end of the month, 6,800, less than 1,000 a year later.

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During its existence, the game still managed to pass about 10 tournaments, but their prize funds did not exceed the $ 15,000 mark, which is incomparable with the promised $ 1,000,000 and negligible for a game from Valve. This is not to say that the instant failure of Artifact surprised anyone, no need to be a marketer or study statistics to understand that a card game is not free-to-play in 2018 is wildness, and regardless of the publisher, PR company and quality games, it could not become popular. The last tournament was held at the end of 2019, with a prize pool of $ 2,500 and a peak of 3073 spectators. Valve did not deny the failure, but on March 30, 2020, they announced that Artifact 2.0 is being developed and they will try to “resurrect” the game.

Quake Champions

Quake Champions
Quake 3: Arena was at the origins of esports and can definitely be called one of the best esports games of its time. Quake Champions was announced in 2016 and wanted to take the best from its “legendary ancestor” in modern graphics, but problems arose almost immediately. At the end of the game, the game had a huge number of bugs, which is unacceptable for a simple and highly competitive game, railguns and missiles did not cause the necessary damage, and also there were difficulties with connecting to servers. In the first year, four tournaments were held, the prize money at QuakeCon was even $ 1,000,000, but even there the number of viewers did not increase more than 21,000, which is very modest for a tournament of this scale.

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The next year, 6 tournaments were added, but this was not enough to support professional teams, Na’Vi and VP abandoned discipline, and QuakeCon prize money decreased 5 times. Now Quake Champions is not attracting new esports players or new viewers, and the community consists of only the most dedicated fans. Do not forget that Quake is a very “evil” game even for beginners who cannot call themselves “casual”, and probably because of this, it initially did not have the opportunity to get a large audience.

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Madden nfl

Madden nfl
Despite the fact that the Madden series enjoys a certain popularity and has relatively large prize pools in tournaments, it still fails to become a popular eSports. It does not have leagues and uses an open format of tournaments, the majority of professional players perceive the game as a hobby, and the average online at last year’s Madden Club Championship was about 7,800 spectators. Even excluding games from other genres, Madden is far behind NBA 2K. For many years EA has been trying to increase the audience of the game, using almost all media resources available for this, but there is no growth. Obviously, each e-sports simulator has a very specific “ceiling” for growth, audience, since simulators are liked by those who follow sports games outside of e-sports.

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And we can say that Madden NFL has already reached its peak and cannot become more popular, just as it is difficult for her to lose an audience, since she has no competitor in the form of a worthy American football simulator. On the one hand, the series steadily occupies and will occupy its own niche, but on the other hand it will not become popular.

Blade & Soul

Blade & Soul
It is very atypical for MMO games to try to become a cyber discipline, but NCsoft tried to do it: they worked out the balance, the organization of tournaments and made a very pleasant observer mode. Success in the game depends only on the skills of the player. But despite the fact that the action in the gaming arenas looks very exciting, B&S could not gain popularity as an esports game. Undoubtedly, if such an approach, solutions and resources were directed to a game of a different genre, it could gather a huge audience, but this is not the case with MMOs.

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The audience of MMO games was not interested in the sports component, and it turned out to be extremely difficult to attract people to the game who would play for it, since the need to “pump out” a character is something that, as a rule, does not have to deal with in e-sports. As a result, the Blade & Soul World Championship 2017 had a prize pool of $ 158,760 and a peak viewer of 4,536, and after that the popularity only decreased.

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Rocket arena

Rocket arena
Rocket Arena is a $ 1,999 (launch) game with a very strange concept for 2020: a shooter where all players are armed with rocket launchers. At the same time, it is difficult to imagine that it was not conceived as a competitive and e-sports, because no other conclusions follow from its description. It is unlikely that the idea of ​​the game was supposed to be relaxing, for playing with friends and for fun. This is evidenced by the tournament held almost immediately after the release of the game with a prize pool of $ 100,000, where the players were popular streamers, mainly Fortnite players. As a result, nothing supernatural happened and the game failed.

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After 2 weeks, the game received an 80% discount, and the maximum online for all time was only 913 users. Given the idea, the only surprising thing is that the game went through development, probably some kind of tests and quality control, and even a tournament was held on it.

World Of Tanks

World Of Tanks
World Of Tanks is a game that needs no introduction, literally everyone knows about it, it has been incredibly successful for 10 years and is one of the most significant games produced in the CIS. But it is also an example of the fact that not any audience, even a very large one, can give the game an esports component.

The “Cybersport” program from Wargaming was released in November 2012, it told about the upcoming and past tournaments, the developers tried to draw the attention of players to the competitive part of the game. It got the discussion going and attracted the attention of good strong players, but in terms of audience size, it was not a success. Wargaming has been trying to attract the attention of players to the e-sports part of the game for 5 years, the Clash series and WGL were held. The players even held 183 amateur tournaments “Test Range”. As a result, the last major tournaments were held in 2017.

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The audience was overwhelming. Maybe due to the fact that it is quite old, or due to the fact that World Of Tanks was not originally planned as an esports discipline, but it did not become popular in this aspect.

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