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!