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eSports is not just for the big boys, says Gumbler

VP and Head of Pro Gaming Simon Sunden explains at PG Connects London
eSports is not just for the big boys, says Gumbler

We're often hearing about the enormous prize pools in the world of eSports.

What is often harder to discern, however, is how developers are actually making money in this new era of competitive gaming.

This is what Simon Sunden, VP and Head of Pro Gaming at Gumbler, hopes to shed some light on in his talk at Pocket Gamer Connects London.

First off, he explains that it is still very early days for competitive gaming and the monetisation thereof.

"There's one company that has figured it out, and that's Valve with their game DOTA 2," he says.

Annual DOTA 2 tournament The International broke records in 2016 with an overall prize pool of nearly $21 million - generated by a system in which 25% of revenue from purchasable 'battle passes' goes into the prize fund.

"What's not so often reported is that they made $77 million," Sunden states. "The most a developer has ever made from a single tournament."

Aim high

Another popular revenue stream for eSports is sponsorship - something Sunden feels is not utilised enough by developers.

"I find it surprising that more developers don't have sponsorships from the likes of Red Bull for their weekly events," he says. "It is possible."

Something else Sunden is keen to emphasise is that eSports or competitive elements can increase the profitability of smaller games - not every eSport has to be on the scale of DOTA 2 or League of Legends.

The example he gives is mobile title Mad Skills Motocross 2, a game that has enjoyed good metrics across the board - and helped further by the competitive tournament scene developing around it.

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The game boasts $16.70 average revenue per monthly active user, $41 average revenue per paying monthly active user and 5% conversion.

He then shows an interview with a top tournament player in Mad Skills Motocross 2, who has earned more than $20,000 in total from competitive play.

"This isn't Hearthstone or Clash Royale, it's a middle of the pack game," concludes Sunden. "But you can still make money off it."