[GUEST POST] Incorporating gamification into eSports

Li Zhong Teo
Guest Writer (TJC)
Disclaimer: Guest posts represent the diversity of opinion within the world of gamification, and the views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author. 
eSports, the competitive side of gaming, has grown more and more popular over the years. An increasing number of games have become eSports, with unlikely additions such as Farming Simulator (https://farming-simulator.com/championship). Who would ever have thought that a casual game about farming could turn competitive? Nevertheless, an issue remains: how can gaming companies attract enough people to watch eSports, such that sufficient revenue can be generated to justify investing in it?
Enter gamification. Gamification is already present in many aspects of life, from lucky draws in supermarkets to learning through competitive quizzes in Kahoot. You might think: “Adding game elements to an already existing game seems redundant, repetitive, and downright ridiculous! How will that get more people to watch eSports?” Many companies would beg to differ, having already incorporated elements of gamification into the promotion of eSports.

Blizzard Entertainment

One example is Blizzard Entertainment, creator of World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and more.

During eSports season, the various games hold special events that give players in-game items for participating in eSports-related activities, such as card packs for predicting the winners for the Hearthstone Global Games
(https://playhearthstone.com/en-us/esports/tournament/hct-summer-championship-2018/choose-your-champion), and special skins in Overwatch that match the colours of teams taking part in Overwatch Contenders, allowing players to show their support for them (https://gamerant.com/overwatch-esports-skin-color). 

Overwatch
As an avid player of both of the mentioned games, I can truthfully say that I participated in such events, and found myself watching the eSports scene because of it.

League of Legends

Another example would be Worlds Pick’em (https://pickem.lol.garena.com) that Garena held for League of Legends. It allows players to predict which team would win each match for all the matches in the League of Legends Worlds tournament. Additionally, there were player icons that were given out for participating, and if one were able to correctly guess all of the matches correctly, they would get all five ultimate skins (each skin is usually priced at about SGD30).
People would watch the matches in anticipation of knowing the winner, as well as hoping to get the grand prize, and this led to more viewership of the eSports tournament in question. League of Legends themselves also has Watch Rewards for the other regions (https://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2019/01/watch-rewards-return-for-the-2019-season). These rewards are given based on the number of eSports games they watched live, and it includes summoner icons and emotes (https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/esports/esports-editorial/learn-more-spring-split-watch-missions). This would directly motivate the League of Legends community to watch more eSports, and as the saying goes, you don’t know if you don’t try. Giving them the extra push with this event could lead to them being a long-term fan of eSports.
League of Legends
This would directly motivate the League of Legends community to watch more eSports, and as the saying goes, you don’t know if you don’t try. Giving them the extra push with this event could lead to them being a long-term fan of eSports.

However, these are only virtual, in-game rewards. What about physical rewards in real life?

A suggestion I think can be done to incentivize eSports is: eSports organisers can give out freebies for players who come down to watch the games, such as some of their merchandise, like plushies of characters and keychains, or even a chance to meet the eSports players and talk to them a bit. These are just small steps that gaming companies can make. In the future, there might be even more attractive and exclusive incentives given out. Incentives in different forms and shapes could even draw the eyes of non-gamers to the eSports scene.

Involving content creators

Additionally, involving content creators to promote eSports can also prove successful. Content creators on sites like Youtube and Twitch are able to draw a large audience to watch the gameplay of a certain game. Popular Twitch streamer Ninja has 11+ million followers, and even hit a record of 635,000 concurrent viewers. (https://upfluence.com/influencer-marketing/16-twitch-gaming-streamers-worth-watching) If we give such content creators a platform where they can get their viewers to complete in-game tasks so as to obtain freebies and more rewards, such as meeting this content creator or getting to play with them, these would lead to more players being involved in the game and its eSports community.
With these additions, eSports will become more popular and profitable than ever. Down this virtual road, the eSports community and culture can only grow.
Written by: Teo Li Zhong,
A TJC intern taking part of their WOW programme who enjoys gaming and can play the tuba (quality of playing is questionable)
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