We’ve recently talked about how mobile eSports are gaining popularity in the competitive esports industry.
The mobile eSports rising star Vainglory has successfully taken the next step by bringing two tech giants to the mobile eSports table. NVIDIA and Amazon will sponsor the game’s season finals, which will take place at the eSports Arena in Santa Ana, California, for North America and at the ESL Studio in Katowice, Poland for Europe.
The MOBA perfected for touch
Vainglory, a product of Super Evil Megacorp, is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) created for mobile platforms.
It is a simplified version of the PC-based genre where two teams battle to destroy the enemy’s base with the exception that there are three players instead of the usual five, one lane instead of the usual three, and one jungle instead of the usual two.
The game was released for iOS on November 16, 2014, after being soft-launched for over half a year. The Android version was released on July 2, 2015.
Although it’s hard to imagine playing a complicated game like a MOBA on a mobile device, Vainglory continues to grow in popularity. It had one million views on Twitch in September, five times as many as in March. The game also recently expanded internationally, currently taking on China.
“From the start we focused on creating a game that we hoped one day would be worthy of competitive play,” commented Kristian Segerstrale, chief operating officer and executive director at developer Super Evil Megacorp, in an interview.
“The growth of the competitive community this year has taken us by surprise, however. We’re thrilled that this quarter’s global prize pool has grown to over $150,000 and with major tournaments on four continents and professional eSports teams like G2 eSports and SK Gaming involved. ”
Convincing gamers that MOBAs can also work on mobile devices wasn’t an easy task for the company.
“Whenever you do something that hasn’t been done before you inevitably get early adopters, and you get skeptics,” Segerstrale said. “It’s been amazing to see what a difference the past year has made. As more and more players have started playing Vainglory, the overwhelming skepticism of ‘MOBA on touch screens’ has turned into a mix of grudging acceptance and enthusiastic support from some of the most vocal influencers in the MOBA community.”
Acquisition by SK Gaming
Additionally, SK Gaming, one of the oldest eSports organizations, has recently acquired the European Vainglory organization R3D Gaming to form a new mobile division featuring three teams of R3D players. SK Gaming is not new to the MOBA scene, having had teams for both League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth, but it is the organization’s first step into the mobile eSports environment.
“I’m super excited to be contributing to the growth of Vainglory and the mobile revolution in general,” SK Chimaera member Jonathan “jetpacks” Bergius said in the announcement.
“I strongly believe that by joining together R3D Gaming’s vision to succeed at the highest level of professional mobile gaming will come into fruition,” said Martin Marquardt, the head manager of SK Mobile and supervisor of the new mobile division.