The world of sports nowadays no longer means standing around a field, getting rained on in the mud, or being picked last in an ill-fated team. The advent of the internet means that the competitive and exciting nature of sports can be transmuted away from the physically tiring and tedious and onto screens, which evens playing fields and changes the game to be so much more than what the human body can accomplish physically. eSports enable gamers to battle one another across countries and develop their abilities through quantifiable statistics and extra practice. King of Glory is one such game that has firmly planted itself eSports royalty.
Arena of Valor Popularity
King of Glory is a subsection of the popular MMO game Arena of Valor, which launched in the US in 2017. The game is a fantasy MMO which takes advantage of PvP (player vs player) battle mode and PvE (player vs environment) parkour and running mode. The gameplay is similar to eSports favorite League of Legends, both developed by international tech company Tencent, and utilizes the gambit of the fantasy realm for character design and capabilities as well as standard gameplay. The MMO market value in 2017 was $30.7bn, which looks set to be surpassed by the end of 2018. The Asia-Pacific gaming region boasts the greatest amount of players, but the US market also shows a high penetration for the genre and specific games. The game links WeChat or Facebook accounts, depending on territory, and galvanizes the social aspects of MMOs. The game has a very strong following on Twitch, which allows fans to engage by both playing the game and spectating to amp up the competitiveness on both sides.
King of Glory Popularity
King of Glory boasts 80 million active daily players and around 200 million active monthly players, showing how it is taking over the fantasy MMO eSports arena. The game proved so popular with the Chinese market that developer Tencent were forced to work with authorities to limit gameplay per player to ensure nobody played too long. September 2017 saw Tencent reach an agreement with Nintendo to bring the game to the Switch, furthering its influence and introducing it to players who may not necessarily be traditional MMO fans. Some speculate that the game may cannibalize League of Legends – the uber-popular MMO – by attracting its players, spreading them across the Tencent offerings. Such is its draw, the game has spawned a professional tournament, the KPL. Much like the professional sports leagues of old, betting companies like Betway offer odds and take bets on tournament and match winners. eSports is becoming big business. The popularity of both games is a testament to the popularity of the genre and the fantasy elements that make MMOs so compelling.
King of Glory’s rise to the top of the leaderboards is emblematic of the entire genre of eSports, and the growth in popularity, which can be seen not just in the industry, but in the wider world. The industry shows that the number of players is expected to increase from 385 million people in 2017 to 589 million by 2020. Plus, the market value of the eSports industry is set to reach $1488m by 2020 – a rise from $325m in 2015. Indeed, there are countless worldwide eSports tournaments, as ESC shows, which attract hundreds of fans and span games from FIFA to Dota2 to Fortnite. The flourishing nature of eSports shows just how much of a strong addition they are to traditional sports. By blending the lines of what would be expected with traditional sports into eSports, the industry is given further legitimacy.
The world of sports may be changing, but the way in which games are absorbed by loyal fans and are given a life of their own remains the same. The games can be played on PC or on mobile and help invigorate entire communities and different audiences to get behind the leaderboards and attempt to showcase their skills in the arena. As the scope of what the digital platform can offer gamers becomes truly known, the move from traditional to eSports looks to only increase. As manufacturers and developers realize how powerful a tool the eSports fandom can be, expect eSports to become increasingly more mainstream.