It is difficult to call 2023 an important year for competitive gaming in particular and esports in general, but the fact that the industry continues to grow and gain weight is impossible to deny. According to some analytical data, by the end of 2023 the volume of the esports market will reach $4 billion.
The lion’s share of the market is still occupied by monumental disciplines: Dota 2, LoL, CSGO, but recently VALORANT has joined them. In addition to actively influencing esports, the aforementioned titles are increasing the popularity of gambling, which is not surprising. One of the pillars of competitive games has always been excitement, and most of all it is inherent in tipsters using lol betting predictions, Dota 2 and CSGO tips as well as other disciplines.
However, on the classic disciplines, the progress is not stopped. Among the mastodons of the competitive gaming industry there is a place and quite young disciplines and genres. In their ranks, of course, there is a place Battle Royale.
Battle Royale games were not popular in the years of the industry’s growth, when MOBAs and shooters filled the space of eѕportѕa, but everything changed significantly in 2017. Then the world of computer games saw PUBG, after which the era of battle royal began.
We decided to remember how the genre evolved, what PUBG and its relatives brought to the industry, and how battle royales feel in 2023.
Variety and Diversity of Battle Royale Titles
Released 6 years ago, PUBG seriously shook up the competitive gaming industry. A game with over 2,000,000 players at the height of its popularity had a new approach to competition. Instead of classic team battles with static rules, Battle Royale offered dynamic battlegrounds where circumstances changed from match to match.
PUBG spawned a whole trend for battle royal, which, again, is quite logical. Few projects can boast such indicators of popularity and community involvement in the game. After 2017, new titles began to appear and old titles began to rise from the ashes. The shelves of digital shops began to fill with games in the genre of battle royal.
Obviously, a lot of games in the battle royal genre turned out to be nothing more than a “flop”. They were created in a hurry, with the desire to steal some of the popularity of PUBG and on its shoulders to get into the top of the most popular projects.
One of the most screaming cases of this practice was Ubisoft’s Hyper Scape. It was an attempt to add dynamics and parkour to PUBG, but something went wrong: HS received negative reviews, and the community, to put it mildly, did not appreciate Ubisoft’s attempts. In 2020, Hyper Scape was promised to be resuscitated, but it didn’t get any further than promises. And who has succeeded in perfecting the PUBG formula is Respawn Entertainment with their Apex Legends.
The game from Respawn, the creators of the popular in its years Titanfall, came to the community quite unexpectedly. Unexpected, because it was created as an experimental project without advertising and promotion and definitely not as a PUBG clone. Respawn changed the battle royal formula, adding to the standard loot mechanics and narrowing down unique characters and abilities. Apex has managed to take its share of the market.
Evolution of Gameplay Mechanics
Continuing the theme of Apex Legends’ success, we need to understand why it caught on with players. The answer here is on the surface. It’s all about gameplay mechanics, or rather the evolution of those mechanics.
We’ve already mentioned that Apex offered fans of battle royal not just looting, but also unique heroes and parkour. That’s a hard thing not to sell! The success of Apex, and also the general decline in the popularity of battle royal games forced the developers of games of this genre to evolve and outdo themselves.
More and more often in the battle royals began to appear elements of “casual”, as they were called by avid players of PUBG, famous primarily for the severity of gameplay and complexity of gameplay. Among the most obvious options are more freedom of movement, vertical gameplay and objects to interact with. There’s also the ability to revive teammates, something PUBG didn’t have until 2023.
In addition, the developers began to add a variety of maps with different biomes and landscapes, mods and modes. In the same Apex over time appeared arenas, as well as team de-matches. In PUBG itself, KRAFTON came to add a bomb disposal mode to the battle royal to save the fading game, which had previously been switched to the F2P model.
However, a surefire way to keep the game popular remained the esports component. Often, any in-game innovations helped in trying to retain an audience.
E-Sports and Competitive Scene
The boom of battle royale games contributed to their rapid emergence on the esports scene. The same PUBG saw the arrival of many big names in the industry such as FaZe, NaVi, Liquid and others. Similar things happened in other disciplines, such as Apex and Fortnite, but we’ll talk about it later and separately, not in the context of the professional component.
The biggest tournaments in battle royal were the ALSG World Championships in Apex Legends and the PUBG Global Championship in PUBG. Here and there millions of dollars were raffled off and it seemed like a bright future was ahead, but it didn’t come. Esports has not really caught on in battle royal, and this is directly related to the genre of the game. The fact is that professional battle royal matches are difficult to watch due to the peculiarities of the games, where it is difficult to understand what is happening from the outside.
Perhaps the previously mentioned decline in the popularity of the genre as such has had an impact, but it’s not certain, because the royal battles have Fortnite left. And he’s the game of all time.
Collaborations and Crossovers
Epic Games’ creation became a phenomenon of its genre and surpassed all the developers’ dreams. Not least thanks to crossover collaborations.
Fortnite has been developed as a mass-market product since the early days of Fortnite, and it’s done it perfectly. The game is constantly collaborating with other famous brands and celebrities: Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Naruto and even Terminator. Travis Scott and Ariana Grande have held concerts here, and the game’s adverts are dotted on billboards all over the world.
Fortnite has become a benchmark for working with a wide community and an example for others. The same PUBG did a collaboration with Korean pop group Black Pink.
At one time, Battle Royale was the guiding light of the gaming industry and had a huge influence on it. In 2023, that influence has waned, but still remains significant thanks to the same Fortnite, PUBG’s F2P model, and Apex Legends’ constant updates.
Battle Royale has its audience and clearly isn’t going anywhere from the information field, nor will it disappear after its decline in 2019-2020.