‘Vainglory’ becomes first mobile MOBA to be part of China’s top esports event

Agence France-Presse
‘Vainglory’ becomes first mobile MOBA to be part of China’s top esports event
The game will join heavyweights such as 'Dota 2' and 'Counter Strike: Go' in China's premier gaming tournament, the World Electronic Sports Games

HAIKOU, China – China has embraced smartphones like no other place on earth and now the nation’s premier eSport event – the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) Grand Final – has made its first connection with a mobile game that taps into that very technology.

WESG organisers Alisports and gaming giants Super Evil Megacorp on Thursday officially partnered their mobile interests and now Vainglory, the world’s leading mobile-exclusive game, is set to makes its debut at the event this weekend. (READ: The world of online games arrives in China for WESG Grand Final)

“We looked to the availability of the game worldwide, the number of users, and to how developed the eSport ecosystem is when it comes to the players the teams, and the organization we would be working with itself,” explained Jason Fung, eSports director at Alisports.

“And there’s no better choice than Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory.”

A Vainglory exhibition competition featuring teams from China, South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore will feature at WESG over March 17 to 18 at the Hainan International Convention & Exhibition Center.

It is fitting the deal was sealed in the southern Chinese city of Hainan and the country has established itself as the world’s second largest market behind the United States for Vainglory, a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) that features two teams fighting to destroy the base of a mutual enemy and was launched in November 2014.

As the largest market for smartphones in the world, China is also leading the way in terms of mobile games in general – itself a market which is growing at an estimated rate of around 19% per year.

And it’s little wonder that growth is on the horizon given industry estimations that by 2022 there will be around four billion smartphone devices in people’s hands around the world.

“For the past few years we have been trying to show people that mobile eSports is the eSport of the future,” said Taewon Yun, General Manager for Global Publishing at Super Evil Megacorp

Vainglory is leading the way, with more than 5,000 teams playing in six regional professional leagues around the world, while its popularity among regular users was highlighted when last year’s Vainglory world championships in Singapore picked up more than 15 million views.

WESG has been quick to look to this market as it looks to the future.

“We were were looking for a mobile title we wanted one we could grow on a global scale,” said Fung.

Overall, industry watchers Newzoo.com have estimated that while the total global games market will top the US$143 billion mark by 2020, mobile games will take up an estimated 41% of total games revenue, or over US$ 72.3 billion.

Being included for the 2018 edition of WESG places Vainglory alongside a selection of the most popular regular online video games in the world in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Defence of the Ancients 2 (DOTA2), StarCraft II, and Hearthstone – and will no doubt place the game at the forefront of consideration as eSports looks to connect with traditional multi-sport events.

“Mobile [games] are for everyone just like the Olympic Games are for everyone,” said Yun. “So we are happy to join an Olympic style event here at WESG.” – Rappler.com

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