We take a look at the rise of esports, the growth of Fortnite and PUBG, and look at what the next battle royale giants may be.
Esports generated a collective prize pool of more than $113 million last year, according to Esports Earnings.
Esports – or competitive video games played for rewards and prizes - attracted millions of unique viewers and continues to grow.
Video games themselves have been accessible since the 1970s with Pong, Space Invaders and Pac Man blazing a trail, but it was only in the 2000s that the bigger leagues started forming for the most popular multiplayer games, attracting the very best players to make a living playing games professionally.
The 2017 Intel Extreme Masters held in Katowice in Poland set a record for esports attendance, attracting a crowd of over 173,000 attendees. That’s 100,000 more people than attended the Super Bowl or FA Cup final in the previous year. The viewing audience for the championships reached more than 46 million unique online viewers, 16 million more than President Trump’s inauguration achieved.
Esports isof course big business and only going to get bigger in the next few years. The main games being played at the moment include League of Legends; Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2.
In recent years two titles have exploded onto the scene.
PUBG - or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds - is a multiplayer battle royal survival game launched in 2017 but only officially coming out of beta in 2018. Played over three random maps, 100 players parachute into the area from a plane. They equip with armour, weapons and first aid supplies and try to become the last player to survive and achieve 'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!' as the game proclaims.
The game has suffered controversy since its launch due to accusations of cheating and hacking from some online players, and the developers have been hard-pressed to clamp down on these rulebreakers. Tournaments are starting to crop up all over the world but logistical issues remain for live LAN esports finals, as you have to have 100 networked machines in one place at one time.
The company itself organised the PUBG Global Invitational event with regional qualifiers and the final showdown in Berlin in 2018, with a $2 million prize pool.
Fortnite – froth or floss?
The other huge online multiplayer game capturing the imagination of players all over the world right now is Fortnite. Similar to PUBG in format but more cartoony and with a different atmosphere, Fortnite takes place on a single map with the same 100 competitors.
The game has been attracting players with different themed events and seasons and has an active player base currently of 125 million players. Developers Epic attempted to launch an esports event this summer but ran into several problems including servers crashing at vital times and defensive gameplay limiting the excitement factor.
With the amount of attention and following Fortnite has, once these problems have been ironed out then it can be the next big esports juggernaut to take the world by storm.
What's next for battle royale?
What are the next hot titles going to be, which will attract millions of viewers and competitors to pick up their pads in anger and go for gold?
The battle royale genre is hotting up, with others looking to compete with PUBG and Fortnite.
At the top of the competitor list is Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. This upcoming title has a battle royale mode which has been well-received by streamers so far.
Then there's Battlefield V, another triple-A title looking to make an impact in this space.
Not to forget the likes of the Darwin Project, Realm Royale, H1Z1 and others which are all competing in this hotly contested battle royale genre.
Looking at esports as a whole then, whether you can’t tell your Call Of Duty from your Overwatch, it doesn’t matter when there’s money to be made and the matched betting offered by Profit Accumulator means you can profit from pixels 24/7!
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