Evolve Labs, the Minneapolis-based company that created Evolve, a social collaboration platform for PC gamers, recently announced a new eSports service called BlackFlag. The service is an eSports arena focused on the multiplayer battle online arena League of Legends where teams of five, after playing a $5 entry fee, battle other teams of similar skills for cash prizes.
The company is using the League of Legends tournament applications programming interface (API) to enable fair matches and honest outcomes. BlackFlag is offering a $5 bonus incentive to all new users that sign up for the service.
Additionally, the platform offers other incentives that can be used to fund matches or be redeemed for items, such as Riot Points, collectibles and apparel.
League of Legends is the primary focus
The service is planning to capitalize on the growing eSports market, which according to the market research company SuperData could hit $1.9 billion by 2018. With League of Legends as the pioneer among the eSports titles and more than 67 million unique users, who play over 30 million League of Legends matches every month, the company is in a good position with its new product.
With more than 250,000 League of Legends players who play 750,000 matches each month on Evolve, adding ad hoc competitions was a natural next step.
According to the company, this new service is a standalone product, but still affiliated with the Evolve collaboration platform, for the time being. League of Legends players from Evolve’s 2 million users have been part of early testing and BlackFlag arenas will eventually be natively supported within Evolve.
“BlackFlag is a passion project of the Evolve team and something we have always wanted to do,” said Adam Sellke, the founder and CEO of Evolve Labs, in a statement. “Recently we participated in a series of AMAs where the idea was embraced by an audience of gamers expressing an overwhelming interest in a competitive gaming service. So, we fast-tracked the idea and turned it into a reality.”
What makes BlackFlag stand out?
Compared to other tournament sites, BlackFlag offers a very simple arena for competitive gaming because there is no bracket system. Matches are played in real time, and the level of risk is low where players simply play one match and the winner takes the prize.
The service will first be available to players aged 18 and above in 45 out of the 50 States in the U.S. and all of Canada, with plans to roll out globally wherever permitted by law. Even though the eSports betting service might sound like gambling, many states allow betting on skill based games, where participants can bet real money on a game of skill, rather than a random game such as a slot machine.
Evolve Labs was founded in 2010 as a game-agnostic collaboration and productivity platform for gamers to connect, coordinate, and play online games with friends. Entering the competitive gaming industry with a unique product like BlackFlag could be huge for the company, and there is immense potential for expansion in the future by including games like Dota 2, Counter Strike: GO, and other well-known eSports titles.