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So You Want to Make an eSports Game | Ohad Barzilay

  1. So you want to develop an eSport title? Ohad Barzilay SideKick Games
  2. Who Am I • Ohad Barzilay • Deepmist, Mytopia, New Legends • Worked w/ Dreamworks, MGA, Endemol, Showtime, Lionsgate etc • Teaching in Academic game studies for past 8 years • Currently at Sidekick, working on new titles for Dark Matter and Rovio.
  3. New Legends • HQ competitive multiplayer mobile games • Geared for streaming from mobile • In-game Community Management
  4. eSports keeps growing! Source:
  5. What is an eSport “A popular competitive real-time game, that pits players against each other in a skill based, time boxed match.” - Ohad Barzilay
  6. Does Your Game Fits eSports You can build for eSport, but you cannot build an eSport game. You should develop a game that is.. • Competitive • Real Time • Matches based • Operate a community • Still doesn’t guarantee the game will be popular
  7. Does Your Game Fits eSports There are main 3 factors that affect game progress: • Player Skill: Better control skill = Better outcome • Unit Skill: Better unit = Better outcome • Luck: How Random is the outcome Player Skill Unit Power Luck
  8. Does Your Game Fits eSports Player Skill Unit Power Luck Player Skill Unit Power Luck Player Skill Unit Power Luck Player Skill Unit Power Luck Player Skill Unit Power Luck Player Skill Unit Power Luck WoW Starcraft Candy Crush LoL Angry Birds Puzzles & Dragons Player Skill Unit Power Luck Hearthstone
  9. Skill Centric but Not Only Player Skill Unit Power Luck
  10. Skill Curve • Allows players to develop unique or impressive strategies • Much more fun to watch for players at all levels • Allows “Star Players” to become known & attract audience • eSport titles aspire to have “endless” skill curve
  11. Real-Time Competitive Play • Competitive • Players vs Players: 1x1, 3x3, 5x5 • Allows teams, star players to emerge = creates fans • Real Time • Encourage group viewing, on schedule • Required to have sports-like events = brings fans together
  12. Real-Time Competitive Play
  13. Real-Time Competitive Play
  14. Real-Time Competitive Play • Competitive • Players vs Players: 1x1, 3x3, 5x5 • Allows teams, star players to emerge = creates fans • Real Time • Encourage group viewing, on schedule • Required to have sports-like events = brings fans together This combination is where the drama can emerge from.
  15. Real-Time Competitive Play • Design to have a sequence of dramatic moments • Don’t try to have one contentious non-stop action. • Breaks in action allows players to plan ahead and highlights dramatic moments in the match. • Shoutcasting is a huge part of the eSports experience. Allow breaks in action so casters could talk.
  16. Time Boxed Matches • Match duration relay on skill difference but limited in time. • Time limit adds strategic layer to the game = adds Drama • In teams, matches adds an interesting layer of team-play sync • Required to allow tournaments and ranking • Allows broadcasters to plan length of broadcast • Striking a balance is challenging – Optimal play time vs Optimal view time
  17. Simple & Clear Game Rules • Clear Success / Failure Conditions • Clear Participants • Clear Game Arena • Clear Sub Goals (awards bonus/penalty) • Complexity: Units with different abilities, • Different Game Arena, Time limit, Different Sub Goals. • Results in • Easy to learn, Hard to Master for players • Easy to understand for spectators
  18. Development Priorities • Game actually work (Stability) • Clear game loop (rules, visuals) • Balanced gameplay mechanics • Do not prioritize automated competition features. • Players can solve these themselves.
  19. Real-Time Competitive Play
  20. Community - Fans • THE major factor b/w good competitive game – and an eSport. • eSports games are about viewership • The emotional connection fans develop to players and teams • Nurturing pro athletes and teams is key factor • Done right, this is can be a key growth channel of the game • As opposed to paid UA being the major source on mobile
  21. Community - Fans Much more than community everywhere else: • Caring for amateur players • Caring for pro players (professional athletes/teams) • Catering for viewers/fans (spectator mode, content etc) • Partnerships (ESL, Twitch, Streamers, Youtubers) • Run/Support Tournaments
  22. Community - Fans • Work with Pro Players early on to balance the game • Wow Moments – extreme places pro players can take the game • Ensure pro players can create these moments • Publish these moments – this what attracts viewers • Encourage knowledge and know-how sharing • Players creating guides on best strategy • Stay in constant contact with your community and share update
  23. Take Away Points • Your players decide if the game is eSport or not • Build for it by making a good real-time competitive game • Allow long skill curve (easy to learn, hard to master) • Clear game rules and visuals, balanced game • Work with Pro Gamers on wow moments • Support pro players, teams to allow emergence of fans • Create, publish content and encourage others to do so as well
  24. Fun To Watch Games
  25. Thanks Questions? Ohad Barzilay | @Civaxo

Notas do Editor

  1. Founded and managed several game companies. I headed a studio called Mytopia, taking it through the transition from early mobile to facebook (well myspace first), to social gambling which got us acquired by 888 during 2010. I continued as the COO / Chief Creative for 2 more years, growing the team to 3 internal studios, which allowed us to expand beyond our core social gambling and also work with Showtime and Lionsgate on Weeds and Dexter. Also had the pleasure of developing original IP games as well as working with some other media companies such as Dreamworks. Currently at SideKick, a studio known mostly for VR games, where I’m heading of a few new games, one in an upcoming title for Rovio and the other, in soft launch, by Dark Matter. Been teaching courses and working with students in game programs for about 8 years. Currently IDC.
  2. But this talk is mainly based on the journey a friend, Eitan Reisin, and I, together with a small team, went through in 2014 till early 2015. We worked on a game framework based on the above principles - which are the building blocks of eSports titles We tried to bring these to the mobile world, which required us to break down and analyse eSports games.
  3. Rev to Jump to $463M IN 2016 There were 112 major esports events in 2015 and they generated an estimated $20.6 million in ticket revenues. The total prize money of all esports events held in 2015 reached $61.0 million, a 70% year-on-year increase. The global Esports Audience was 226 million gamers and the number of Esports Enthusiasts reached 115 million in 2015, a YoY growth of 27.7%. Global revenues in 2015 reached $325 million, a growth rate of than 67.4%. North America accounted for $121 million of this. Online advertising is the fastest growing revenue segment, up 99.6% on a global scale compared to 2014. The average annual revenue per Esports Enthusiast was $2.83 in 2015 and is expected to grow to $3.53 this year The Esports Audience boasts a very valuable demographic, skewing towards consumers with a full-time job and relatively high income.
  4. Striking Balance: Is it a live tournament or a friendly fight? Is it 1x1 or 5x5 (the more participants = more action happening = longer time the match can hold attention) Where is it viewed?
  5. For a sport to be popular it needs to be easy to understand.
  6. I highly recommend watching Al Yang’s Talk for more in-depth info on this subject
  7. Screenshot I took 2 weeks ago on twitch. Emergent behavior of players: The players went online to skype and talked in a group live One player (Ha2en) broadcasted everything. They all went on one guild to be able to play. After each match Hazen and whoever joined him on skype viewed the game and casted it. An external site was used to track scores.
  8. THE major factor between good competitive game – and an eSport.
  9. People watch sports for the wow moments - extreme moments where high level skill shifts the balance. Wow moments shows what can be achieved in your game. The drama peaks. This is what attracts amateur players. If the pro players cannot create these – rebalance/add features to allow these.
  10. You can check out my talk from Casual Connect Tel Aviv where I introduced and gave design guidelines for doing Fun To Watch games – which covers eSports as well.