Gamers have been wondering whether or not e-sports will go mainstream for a while now, with tournaments like Dota 2's The International attracting ever more players as well as record-breaking prizes. One company, though, thinks that the way to take competitive gaming to the next level is to harness the potential of mobile devices. Super Evil Megacorp has announced that it has raised $26 million to make its touch-based game Vainglory the "world’s first mass-market e-sport." The developer has partnered with OGN — a South Korean cable company dedicated to competitive gaming — to build an "international premier league" for the game starting in August, and is offering teams from around the world the chance to compete for a $70,000 prize pool.
1.5 billion mobile devices shipped last year compared to 300 million PCs
This is small fry compared to the millions up for grabs at some video game tournaments, but Super Evil Megacorp has reason to think it's only the start. According to estimates from market researchers IDC, some 1.5 billion mobile devices were shipped by manufacturers last year compared to 300 million PCs, with one analyst from DFC Intelligence telling The New York Times that the number of mobile gamers is likely to surpass those playing on PCs next year. Super Evil Megacorp isn't the only game developer trying to crack this market, although there are still doubts among hardcore gamers over whether or not touch devices can compare with the accuracy of mouse and keyboard. But with Vainglory's last tournament attracting more than one million viewers around the world, and the game racking up 1.5 million active players in May (this was before it launched on Android, reports the NYT), perhaps this issue is less important than sheer accessibility.