The Weekly Raid: Are Battle Royale Games The Future Of Esports?

The Battle Royale genre has taken the gaming industry by storm. Playerunknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite were the defining titles of 2017 and both continue to increase in popularity well into 2018. They've been joined by a few new comers like Darwin Project and Radical Heights, and there's surely dozens more Battle Royale games currently in development.

But does this new genre have staying power? The enormous eSports infrastructure built up around the small team vs team structure of MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2 and tactical FPS titles like Counter Strike Global Offensive and Overwatch is now being modified to serve the upstart Battle Royale genre. H1Z1, a precursor to PUBG, is a bit ahead of the pack when it comes to eSports. The H1Z1 Pro league is kicking off a professional tournament in Las Vegas starting on April 21. 15 teams are set to square off in a custom designed circular stage which looks incredibly impressive, even to a staunch eSports skeptic.

While eSports aspirations won't be enough for stragglers like H1Z1 to catch up in popularity to PUBG and Fornite, this event will likely prove a good test case on whether the genre can work as a spectator sport. Fortnite in particular has reached a critical mass previously unimaginable in the video game industry, if it works as an esports then it has the chance to break into the mainstream culture like nothing before.

Or it could fizzle out under the weight of the logistics involved. Where a MOBA or FPS match only has to accomodate 10-12 players, today's mainstream Battle Royale titles require up to 100 players and computer setups. Pity the esports event coordinator in charge of that operation! Only time will tell whether this new genre thrives as a spectator sport, but in the mean time please share your visions of the future below!

Lifelong gamer always looking for the next virtual adventure. I'm still waiting for the next big MMORPG. Until then, you can find me hopping between multiple games.

  • DarkFox

    BR here, BR t here.... I CANT HEAR IT ANYMORE >.<

  • I'm not any good at battle royales, but hey if they can make an esport out of em then I stand by it.

  • Rex Xillian

    With regards to future fortnite/pubg esport events, i think it is likely we will see different rule sets used for tournament play and will probably have less than 100 players (perhaps 10x4 man squads or something). After all it is impossible to watch 100 players and not miss out on any action.

    Personally i don't enjoy competitive games like this because i am a scrub, i'll stick to tending my garden in ffxiv..

  • Nubatron

    In it's current form BR will fail as a eSports. There is a reason why MOBA games are eliminating RNG as time passes. Take LoL for example. Initially some spells had damage ranges where RNG decided what your damage is between X and Y. That is now replaced by flat number that are increased depending on items, so you can calculate (and actually see what your damage will be). You don't really seen randoms in abilities either. There are possibly still some left, but it's been a long time since I last played LoL, so, eh.
    As for the FPS games listed, they of course include some level of random with the way shooting works (accuracy), but more skilled players get used to it and will know how each weapon will work. Now, most BR games this the RNG of accuracy and then pushes the whole item finding thingie on top of it. The most skilled team may not find a single useful weapon for except and just get a bunch of shotguns. The other teams will annihilate them, unless they can get a drop on them. Strategy and tactics play a role in it, but relatively not as large a part as it should be for eSports. And I don't think eSports should be about how maxed your Luck stat is for that matter.
    I can imagine how professional BR players will have a really frustrated life, when they practice for hours upon hours just to be fucked over by RNG in a live match.

  • metalsnake27

    Battle Royale games are horrible competitive wise. The game is just random. Whoever gets lucky and finds the best loot first.... it goes without saying.

    While it's defiantly intense to watch from a spectator perspective, competitively, it really just isn't that viable.

    • TianlanSha

      They are horrible in general, also mind-numbing. It's a fad that got bigger faster than MOBAs, which is a clear sign it will deflate just as fast in a year or two. Making big investments in the genre won't be a good idea. MOBAs will live on, because their concept is way better (I don't play MOBAs, but I can't deny they are good).