Gaming is a global business—and that’s increasingly true for the world’s top titles. From MOBA’s like League of Legends and Arena of Valor to FPS shooters like Counter-Strike and Call of Duty, leagues and teams span the world. Modern eSports has shifted from amateur gamers on Twitch to highly regulated, big-money pursuits.
But it’s been slow going for eSports in hashing out how an international competition works. Consider this, the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games are the most popular global competitions… but they’re only hosted every four years due to the demands of organizing the events. League of Legends, for context, currently has 12 professional leagues that are overseen by Riot Games (and that’s only in Tier 1 of LoL competitions).
Teams in those 12 leagues fight for a chance to compete in the Mid-Season Invitational and the World Championship. LoL’s highly solvent system under Riot Games is one of the most successful in eSports. In fact, when it comes to the latest trends in gaming, LoL’s qualifier setup has been finding traction (far) beyond MOBA titles—and it’s only going to continue to grow and diversify in the coming years.
Creating championship events is a great way to engage gamers from all over. These tactics have proved highly effective for games of all stripes, from casual titles to casino games.
One way to attract players to online poker sites is by hosting big championships and regional tournaments.
This lets poker players qualify for the next tier of competitions. For example, Global Poker has over 250,000 players in the US. The social online poker site offers weekly prizes and events, as well as a Global Poker Championships. They offer The Goat, Grizzly Games, and the Rattlesnake Open to pit some of the top players against one another.
Similarly, FIFA has also leveraged the popularity of its football tournament. In fact, the original FIFA eWorld Cup ran back in 2004. It’s now so huge that it’s broadcasted on traditional networks like ESPN. And what makes it so popular? Absolutely anyone can qualify at its regional events, just like with Global Poker.
As highlighted by the FIFA eWorld Cup, the organization of modern eSports has piggybacked greatly on traditional sports. But that has also presented hurdles, as the UK’s Premier League looks a lot different than the US’s NFL in terms of organization. One of the biggest questions has been whether eSports will use a franchise system.
A franchise system, like that used by the NFL, means that the NFL owns and runs the league. It grants rights (from broadcasting to marketing) to certain teams, which are known as franchises. The league itself holds all rights. In the Premier League, by contrast, member teams own the Premier League and are wholly independent entities.
Already, most of the top leagues in eSports have shifted toward a franchise format. This includes Call of Duty League (CDL), which includes a prize pool of $5 million. The CDL is owned by Activision. Meanwhile, four of the 12 LoL professional leagues run by Riot Games mentioned above are also franchised, including China, Europe, Korea, and North American leagues.
That brings us to our last point on trends in gaming: international rosters. As outlined by how a franchise system runs, it would make more sense that players from certain regions would be recruited. This also helps bridge linguistic and cultural concerns.
Today’s most successful eSports team of all time is Team Liquid. Their VALORANT team includes players from the UK, Finland, Russia, and Sweden, highlighting the increasingly international nature of team formation.