The current state of mobile esports according to the ESL

James Dean defines an esport and talks about the challenges facing mobile

The current state of mobile esports according to the ESL

As part of Pocket Gamer Connects London 2018, ESL UK managing director James Dean gave an update on the progression of mobile esports.

Dean started by defining an esport as a game with a competitive playerbase, a tournament ecosystem, a fanbase with online and physical audiences, statistical analysis and sponsorship.

"Any game can become a sustainable esport," said Dean, as long as developers keep track of the parts which define esports, and continue to evolve the game using input from the player.

Pros and cons

Mobile esports has the advantage of being instantly accessible compared to "traditional" esports, with typically less complex metas, shorter play times and an already massive potential userbase.

However, mobile esports is facing challenges such as the dominance of pay-to-win models, a low viewership, and a relatively underdeveloped esports ecosystem.

Looking at the games with potential to become big esports, Dean pointed to Rovio's Battle Bay, Madfinger's Shadowgun Legends, and Com2us' Summoners War, which held a world tournament in October 2017.

"We can't just keep copying formats," warned Dean, adding that there is a big opportunity for developers to explore new genres and game formats with future esports titles, instead of just churning out more MOBAs.


Ric is the Editor of, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.