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Is Competitive Gaming the Future?

There’s no doubt about it that competitive gaming is becoming bigger than many of us ever expected.

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The image of dusty school halls filled with overweight middle-aged men lugging CRT monitors about is now officially a thing of the past. Playing video games to a professional level is now cool and, hell, even women are getting involved. Take that, every 90s sit-com.

The writing is on the wall. This is the future – whether we like it or not.

Outlive the Dinosaur

If you’d have said 10 years ago that the likes of Unibet might one day be taking serious bets on competitive gaming, you’d have been treated like George McFly in Back To The Future. No matter how many times you explained it was your “Density” to becoming the Queen’s Gambit of a football-based car game, it just wouldn’t have flown.

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Today, it’s closer than ever.  Thanks to the likes of Twitch, watching other people play video games is a growing market.

Dinosaurs like me just don’t get it, but it’s still a growing market.

And the best of the best are using their talents in international competitions. I don’t really get that either, but with my one goal a night average on Rocket League, I’m sure I’ll be in their ranks any day now.

Seriously though, this is big business, and the personalities, game choices and attention of these one-per cent gamers is forging the way forward for the industry. You only have to look at how many developers are pushing out Overwatch clones to see where the wind is blowing.

This can’t be good news for those of us who love single-player games, can it?

I Always Beat the Computer (Eventually)

Both Sony and Microsoft made more money from microtransactions than from video game purchases last year. There’s no doubt about it: single player games are a big investment that doesn’t always pay off. Competitive gaming at home is way less risky.

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But that can’t be how all this ends. From Sonic 1 to Sonic Battle Royale in just a little over three decades?

Here’s the thing. So long as we have console manufacturers or streaming services put out by a single company like Amazon and Google, we’ll have big belly-buster single player games to enjoy.

It makes no sense to sign up to Stadia and only play their Fortnite equivalent. Why? Because Fortnite is free, loading with a billion people and playable on literally everything. Online-only games die when they’re exclusive, and will usually die even quicker if they’re behind a paywall.

Great single player experiences are needed to bring people into the ecosystem. Halo Infinite already has a massive following. That doesn’t mean people would buy a Series X just to play its multiplayer component, not when Apex or Warzone is a click away.

No, Microsoft has to be better than that. Halo Infinite Online will be available everywhere. The single player will pull you in, and the multiplayer will keep you hooked. That’s their plan, anyway.

Expect Sony to start investing in online games as well. But the single-player part for both of these companies is what defines their product. That will never go away.

 

Article By

blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

Follow Mat on:
Twitter: @matgrowcott    Google Plus: matgrowcott