About a month after launching its new Arena platform in Preview, Microsoft have announced that they will be expanding the platform by allowing players to create their own competitive tournaments through Xbox Live.
Before the announcement, game developers, eSports organizations and Microsoft were the only ones who were able to organzine Arena tournaments, but now players will also be able to create custom tournaments, which will be available in 2017.
“We want to give gamers the ability to create their own tournaments and challenges just like you would do if you were setting up a fantasy football league or joining an intramural soccer team,” Microsoft’s Jenn McCoy said at last week’s announcement.
Andrew Paradise, Chief Executive Officer of Skillz, one of the biggest mobile eSports companies, commented on the ever changing eSports industry. He cited that making mobile accessible to anyone is based on a few key factors, including the global expansion of mobile gaming, the social effects of competition and the arrival of streaming.
“The exponential growth of smartphone adoption and the launch of the Apple App Store in 2008 radically changed the gaming industry, particularly in the United States, as commercially successful mobile games proliferated across the market,” Paradise said.
“The on-demand nature of streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming have been key drivers of eSports growth. Live streaming helped enable major tournaments to reach the general public and significantly extended their viewership.”
Ever since Skillz was founded in 2012, they have continuously improved the platform in an effort to enable eSports in any game. Earlier this year, Skillz announced the launch of the first cross-platform eSports multiplayer platform for mobile games as well as building the first eSports live events system that allowed anyone to organize and live stream mobile video game competitions.
Paradise said that with the growth of gaming as a whole, there is a heightened level of interest being directed toward mobile heading into 2017.
“DeNA is building Nintendo games like Animal Crossing, Sony is planning to release at least five new mobile games and Nintendo recently announced the Switch, a new device which allows eSports players to go from console to mobile,” Paradise said. “These developments show that the largest players in the space take the mobile market very seriously. So I think we’ll see the lines of console, online and mobile eSports continue to blur.”