The finals of the EE Clash Royale Mobile Series, the winner of whom will have the chance to join Fnatic, take place this Sunday (January 20th).
We managed to conduct a quickfire interview with Fnatic's Clash Royale team director Holden Sayles ahead of the finals, who opened up on the potential for mobile esports, including Fnatic's foray into Rules of Survival after leaving Vainglory behind.
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do at Fnatic, working alongside the chief gaming officer Patrik "cArn" Sättermon?
My name is Holden Sayles and I am the Team Director for Fnatic's Clash Royale division.
Why did Fnatic get involved with the EE Mobile Series?
I think we saw a great opportunity in the EE Mobile Series to not only give Clash Royale players a chance to prove themselves, but to also find new undiscovered talent.
What are your thoughts on competitive Clash Royale right now compared to other esports?
I believe Clash Royale esports has solidified itself as the top mobile esports title in the Western markets.
Do you think we'll see more initiatives like this that produce ready-made talent for organisations such as yourselves?
I think you'll slowly see these type of initiatives integrated by organisations across multiple titles, as it's a good way to find that diamond in the rough talent.
What do you think of the talent on display in the Mobile Series so far? Has anyone in particular caught your eye?
I've seen amazing plays and some interesting deck choices throughout the EE Mobile Series. Thunderstruck (who will be representing the UK in a separate Red Bull tournament) is a particular individual that stands out in my mind.
Fnatic have just announced a new jersey partnership with OnePlus, showing how serious smartphone brands are becoming with esports. How significant do you think mobile gaming will be in esports going forwards?
Personally, I think the sheer accessibility factor of mobile devices will continue to propel the mobile gaming industry further.
What can other mobile esports learn from Clash Royale?
I think other mobile titles can learn that no matter how big or small you are as a company, you should take your time in planning competitive tournaments and leagues. Supercell is a massive company but didn't just rush into the inaugural season of CRL.
What are your thoughts on leaving Vainglory behind and adding a Rules of Survival team?
Leaving Vainglory was tough as it's such a beautiful MOBA, especially on mobile, however I think SEMC were too ahead of themselves to roll out competitive leagues so early.
RoS is a title that is very promising when you look at the Eastern markets and the rate in which they are growing.
What are your major predictions for esports as a whole this year and beyond?
I think we'll see a lot more partnerships that are non-endemic to esports and/or gaming.
Furthermore, I believe 2019 will be a huge year for collegiate esports in North America.
The EE Clash Royale Mobile Series finals take place this Sunday January 20th