The Games of the Summer Are Also New Esports Titles?
Summer is almost over and school is starting back up. Memorable for its pandemic and birth of hot tub streams, this summer has brought us the return of LANs and the release of multiple potential titles to fill our needs for future esports tournaments.
Pokémon Unite is a free-to-play MOBA that capitalizes on both the popularity and success of the Pokémon franchise and other MOBAs like League of Legends.
There are five battle types, or categories, of Pokémon to play with: Attacker, Speedster, All-rounder, Defender, and Supporter. The newest Pokémon released was Blissey, increasing to a total of 22 Pokémon at the time of this publication. With the current number of Pokémon in the franchise sitting at 898, there is plenty of room to grow the roster, contributing to the potential for a character-based meta to develop and continuously morph over time like in other esport titles.
This game has only been released on the Nintendo Switch; however, they plan to release it to mobile devices in September 2021. This, and the upcoming cross-play, will increase the accessibility for this game to become a potential major esports title. Tournament organizers have already started catching on to this potential and have started hosting tournaments.
Splitgate, considered a marriage between Halo and Portal, is a newly hyped multiplayer first-person shooter by 1047 Games. Although it is new in hype, it has actually been around since 2019 in an early access status. The meteoric rise in popularity made it initially difficult for their team to keep up with demand. At one point, players reported experiencing server queue times up to two hours. Since then, 1047 Games has significantly increased Splitgate’s server capacity and subsequently, the wait times have decreased to a few minutes.
While it is technically still in a beta phase, the game is making waves as a potential competitive title, even enticing Dr. Disrespect to compete in a recent Splitgate tournament.
While Pokémon Unite is living in the shadow of multiple MOBAs and Splitgate is called “the next Halo”, Knockout City is a unique title based on a pastime: Dodgeball. The goal of this game is basically to knockout your opponents using various balls though the 3v3, 4v4, or free-for-all modes. Released in May 2021, Knockout City is available on multiple platforms with cross-play capabilities.
The game has had generally positive reviews. Currently in its second season, Knockout City has had several online tournaments this summer. With its accessibility and family-friendly appeal, only time will tell how far this title will go.
Also this summer, gamers got a taste of upcoming titles with esports potential. Halo Infinite had its first open flight in July 2021. Halo esports, though not at its peak, has massive potential to grow with the release of a new title. XDefiant, a new Tom Clancy title, had a very secretive PC closed test in August. Though it is far too early to tell, XDefiant does have to live up to the limelight of its older, very successful cousin, Rainbow Six Siege, an esports title under a league.
With the emergence of these titles, there is much for esports fans of all types to enjoy in the near future. In the meantime, keep your eyes on the Community Gaming platform for new tournaments!