Esports have become massive for the game development industry as leagues and tournaments attract participants and fans similar to real-life physical sporting events.
As such, publishers are now investing heavily to create esports leagues for their popular titles. Activision Blizzard, for example, has invested in the Overwatch League and set it up much like the professional sporting leagues in the US. The league is now composed of 20 teams including franchises from China, Canada, and France. The 2019 Overwatch Grand Finals drew an average of 1.12 million viewers.
Sport games publishers have also essentially become digital counterparts of various sporting leagues. For instance, the NBA has forged a partnership with Take-Two Interactive to create the NBA 2K League. The esports basketball league has 22 professional teams affiliated with NBA squads and a Chinese team based in Shanghai. Fans have so far spent around 2.5 million hours watching professional NBA 2K matches.
Due to this growing popularity of esports worldwide, experts predict a rise in viewership and tournaments over the years. Its global market is expected to surpass $3 billion by 2025.
To get in on the action, many game developers are now compelled to integrate multiplayer and esports functionalities in their games in the hopes that their games become major esports titles. To help in this regard, Kronoverse has developed a blockchain-based platform that could help developers create a robust esports ecosystem for their games.
Challenges for Developers
Esports is still pretty much in its infancy and is still plagued by various issues. Any developer looking to pursue and establish an esports ecosystem must be prepared to address these concerns.
Rigging Ranked Play. Most esports-capable titles support competitive play that allows players to be ranked in a global leaderboard. Many fledgling players looking to go professional rely on these to get noticed. Some, however, turn to hacking and cheating to be able to rank highly in these game modes. Developers have to consistently police their players to weed out cheats. PUBG, for example, bans an average of 100,000 accounts for cheating, a week.
Cheating in Tournaments. Professional players also attempt to cheat in tournaments. Esports tournaments can give anywhere from $100 to $30 million to winning players and teams. As such, unscrupulous players have started to cheat their way to victory. In 2018, a professional player was caught using an aimbot hack in a CS:GO tournament held in China.
Game Fixing. Organized criminals have also exploited the popularity of esports and saw it as an opportunity to earn big money from game betting by rigging match outcomes. In 2017, Korean Overwatch team Luminous Solar was charged with game fixing during the wildcard qualifier match for the OGN APEX Challenger. Game fixing scandals have also been reported in other popular competitive games such as Counter Strike and FIFA 20.
Monetization. Players are now also looking to monetize on their efforts especially from the in-game items and currency that they accumulate along the way. Unfortunately, most publishers of mainstream titles prohibit the trading of in-game items for money. Players have to resort to participating in the video game black market to trade their in-game wealth. To create an enticing ecosystem that incentivizes players for their effort, developers and publishers must consider how gamers can earn.
Kronoverse looks to solve these challenges by enabling game developers to integrate crucial esports functionalities to their games. Key to the platform is its use of a public blockchain to promote decentralization and transparency. Among the features that the platform provides include:
Permanent Game History. Unlike traditional multiplayer and esports titles which are hosted in closed systems, games that implement Kronoverse allow anyone the ability to review in-game action. Player moves and actions are stored permanently on the blockchain.
As such, the game data can be reviewed at any time and can expose actions linked to cheating.
Competitive Tournaments. Kronoverse also allows developers to focus on creating a game that they can convert to competitions. The platform conducts a thorough player screening and provides payment processing services to ensure that developers can hold competitive but fair cash tournaments natively on their games.
Esports Betting. Kronoverse aggregates game data that can be used to create in-play sports wagering. This allows individuals to bet on players and even player or team actions in real-time.
Universal Marketplace. Kronoverse enables developers to create items and characters that can be traded by players in a universal marketplace, allowing gamers to profit from their creations and game progress. Through blockchain, in-game items can be tokenized so that they can be assigned secure ownership. These items can then be traded securely among gamers.
A Potential Game Changer
Esports is still very much in a state of flux and the industry is still going through some birthing pains. Introducing blockchain’s transparency and secure transactions into the landscape can be a game changer as it can introduce secure mechanics for competitive play and esports. Gamers and player communities would very much like to be involved in games and leagues that guarantee fairness and parity. They would likely gravitate towards games that offer these. Should this become the norm, even major players are likely to offer the same.