Interview

Taking baby steps: Critical Force on the current climate of mobile eSports

Taking baby steps: Critical Force on the current climate of mobile eSports

Pocket Gamer Connects will be heading back to Helsinki on 5-6 September.

Tickets are still available.

So, to give you a hint at what you can expect, we're shining the spotlight onto our speakers to provide a deeper look at the personalities who will be taking the stage.

  • Veli-Pekka Piirainen is the CEO and founder of Critical Ops developer Critical Force Entertainment, who will be talking about growing a mobile eSports game.

PocketGamer.biz: What do you think of the current climate of mobile eSports?

Veli-Pekka Piirainen: Even though mobile eSports is still taking baby steps, it has already become a hot topic.

There is no doubt that mobile eSports will follow the same path as PC eSports.

Vainglory and Hearthstone have made good pioneering work, Critical Ops has been a rising star, and also Clash Royale tournaments have been very popular.

I am very sure that mobile eSports will really start to bloom in 2017 and grow rapidly in 2018.

There are so many young players, who have grown up playing games with mobile devices only and who want to play competitively too.

We at Critical Force have already seen how skilled Critical Ops players are with their mobile devices, so there is no doubt that mobile eSports will follow the same path as PC eSports.

What was the main draw for you to focus on the eSports aspect of your games?

Our main aspect at Critical Force has always been fairness.

We all dislike pay-to-win games and we believe that the only way to keep our players loyal and happy is to keep the game well balanced and competitive.

We have seen many of our competitors making their games pay-to-win and we are pretty sure that those games will lose their player community fast.

Fairness and competitiveness is especially crucial in synchronous multiplayer online games. Because of the skill-based nature of Critical Ops, it was natural to aim directly at mobile eSports.

Our vision is that Critical Ops will become no.1 mobile FPS eSports game in the world.

What is the main issue facing developers looking to grow mobile games as an eSport?

Because eSports games are mostly team based multiplayer online games, and they have millions of players, the main issue is technical complexity.

You especially need to have fast, reliable and scalable backend technology behind your game, combined with intelligent use of limited resources of mobile devices.

Mobile game companies just don't have the know-how of making hard core online multiplayer games.

Dealing with small screen sizes and making good spectating tools are also big challenges.

Most of the mobile game companies just don't have the know-how of making hard core online multiplayer games with excellent graphics running on resource-limited mobile devices.

What other major trends do you predict for the rest of 2016?

Direct streaming from mobile devices to Facebook, Twitch and Mobcrush will grow fast, and mobile eSports will definitely start to gather more interest.

Mobile games will become more and more hardcore and their development cost will rise all the time.

But the most rapidly growing trend will be mobile augmented reality games. I am pretty sure that there will be an influx of mobile AR games by the end of the year due to the success of Pokemon GO.

What are you looking forward to seeing at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2016?

I am looking forward to seeing good presentations and meeting interesting people, as well as seeing old friends in the games industry.


Deputy Editor

Ric has written for PocketGamer.biz for as long as he can remember, and is now Deputy Editor. He likes trains.

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