On December 2nd and 3rd of 2017, gaming personalities Swiftor, NampaiKid, Mystic7, NothernLion, Hafu, Naomi Kyle, Avajaijai, and XChocoBars will find themselves gathered at Time Inc Studios in New York City, engaged in a battle to the death.
…Okay maybe not death. Replace ‘battle’ with competition (which is a form of battle!) and ‘To the death’ with ‘Casual’ Mobile Games.
The mobile gaming competition, Champions of Fire, is presented by Amazon and is a part of the company’s deep dive into the world of mobile eSports.
Their Mobile Masters’ series has featured the best-of-the-best in Hearthstone, World of Tanks Blitz, VainGlory, and Power Rangers: Legacy War, competing for glory and prizes. The most recent event in Las Vegas featured tens of thousands of dollars up for grabs.
Champions of Fire on the other hand, focuses on ‘casual’ or esoteric games like Flappy Bird Family, Beat Fever, Beach Buggy Racing, Cooking Craze, Pac-man 256, and Sonic Forces: Speed Battle. A more ‘hardcore’ title, Real Racing 3, is also included. 50,000 dollars is on the line.
The participants are popular influencers with millions of subscribers and views between them, be it via YouTube, or in Naomi Kyle’s case, part of IGN – how good they are at mobile games remains to be seen.
The tournament format, and how the money will be divided remains to be seen as well. For what it’s worth, the 2016 edition of the tournament also had popular YouTubers, and featured games like Disney Crossy Road, Fruit Ninja, personal favorite 8 Ball pool – and Pac-man 256, which will be returning.
Amazon also has a deal with CBS Sports, which aired the 2016 Champions of Fire, and also the Mobile Masters series. With slick production and a focus on the personal stories of the players in the fray, the whole thing had a World Series of Poker-esque vibe, which is a good way to endear casual viewers to the endeavor.
The tricky thing about eSports, and especially mobile eSports, is audience. Mobile gaming is arguably the largest gaming demographic there is. From BeJeweled to FarmVille to Mario Run to the forthcoming Animal Crossing game, there are over a billion mobile devices on this planet, and you have to imagine most of them have *some* kind of game on them.
But the question is what games, and are the people *playing* these games interested in watching others play them – or for that matter, are they even *aware* of what eSports are.
That said, there’s certainly an appeal in watching good people play ‘casual’ games. What *does* high-level Cooking Craze, or Pac-man 256 gameplay look-like? And how do you get people who might be interested – but have never used Twitch.TV, to watch?
Ultimately that’s up to the braintrust at Amazon, who so far have delivered quality gaming content with A+ production value and high-drama that kept your humble author invested – and they certainly have the capital to make it happen.
The event kicks off December 2nd, and will be streamed on the Aforementioned Twitch.TV, and on CBS Sports. Stay tuned for updates, more information, the tournament format, and developers regarding what *other* influencers – and games, will be added to the weekend’s festivities.