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What makes Summoners War a successful esport?

Gamevil Com2uS' David Mohr explains
What makes Summoners War a successful esport?

The $210,000 Summoners War World Arena Championship 2019 finals were held on 26 October in Paris.

Eight players from across the US, Europe and Asia took part - competing in quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final itself.

'L’est', from the Asia region, took home the championship trophy and $100,000 after a hard fought final with US combatant 'Thompsin'.

In addition, over 1.25 million people viewed the live broadcast; more than ten times 2018's total.

The action was streamed on YouTube and Twitch in 15 different languages, included commentaries from on-site casters in English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Korean and Japanese.

We caught up with Gamevil Com2uS general manager for Europe David Mohr to gain an insight into what makes Summoners War a successful mobile esport. When Summoners War was first released, did Come2us envision it becoming a competitive esport?

David Mohr: I can't say if we envisioned it becoming a global esport because I wasn't with the company at the time. I don't know but probably not.

We just wanted to make a good old school RPG, which I think we did and we were very lucky that it became a global success.

With a game like this, you continuously add new features. We had PVP very early in the game, but it was very static PVP. You just attacked somebody else's defence and then the AI played those monsters, so it wasn't as challenging as playing against real people.

But as the game evolved and players beaome stronger, they looked for more challenge. We thought it would be natural to have a real-time PVP. So we added that feature and people really liked it. 

What is it that draws players to Summoners War?

It's a very complex game. We see a lot of people trying to copy the blueprint because it's a successful game. But, most of those games don't sustain because they don't really understand the complexity of our game.

“We see a lot of people trying to copy the blueprint of our title because it's a successful game.”
David Mohr

We have a lot of monsters you can collect that are very beautiful, maybe with a style that is relatively compatible with all the different tastes all over the world. However, all these monsters have different skills and abilities that interact with each other and feed off each other.

On top of this, there's a very complex rune system that can totally change the way a monster is played, and then there's the interaction of all of these factors against your opponent's team.

What is next for the game? What are your future plans?

For Summoners War, we are trying to improve the reach of our title across all mediums. For example, we are working with Skybound on animation and comic book content for our game. 

Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead is heavily involved in that.

We already have our short video on YouTube, about an eight-minute story video, created by Skybound with a very different visual style from our game.

It's more Western but I think it's really, really cool and we're looking to develop this further. We're looking to have other games with the Summoners War IP. We are working on an MMOG and on a strategy game.

“You have to establish a successful game that people love to play and then eventually build on top of that.”
David Mohr

We're also working on various titles that we haven't announced yet to broaden the reach.

And then of course for Summoners War itself, we're looking to add new content and new features such as even more interesting PVP.

What are your plans to increase its popularity as an esport?

We want to make it more interesting and accessible for players. We also want to improve the way we stream our games and we create the content leading up to the world final because it's a long road.

There is an online qualification, there are regional tournaments, there's the world's final. It takes quite some time.

We are already streaming this very regularly, but we want to do this even better and make it even more interesting.

How would you say the tournament has progressed since its inception?

Well, it's become a lot bigger. We organised the first championship in a few weeks. It was amazing it even happened.

Even for the first tournament, which we did in Paris three years ago, we had over a thousand guests in the audience and really good viewership numbers.

This has increased massively since 2018's world final. So we're very happy about that.


We have a really nice venue, a fantastic programme, an opening act -  everything that an event like this needs.

We just want to continue making them more professional and better: more audience; more viewers; and to make our players happy.

What characteristics do you feel are important for success for esports?

You have to have a really good game first.

I feel like a lot of people are trying to do this and they say 'we're doing an esports game with all these esports features and the camera, blah, blah, blah...

But if you look at the truly successful games, they're old, most of them. Or, they started out as something completely different and eventually they became adopted by a huge amount of people as an established esport.

Counter-Strike, League of Legends, these are all esports based on even older games.

That's how you do it expertly. It takes time. You have to establish a successful game that people love to play and then eventually build on top of that.