E-sports is the name of the game for a lot of companies. They see the big pots at Dota 2 championships and League of Legends tournaments, and many companies assume they can get in on the multi-million dollar electronic sports phenomenon. Well, the latest company to want to get in on the e-sports pie is Sony.
Speaking with Time, global financial chief Jim Ryan explained to the magazine that they’re looking into the electronic sports avenue, but they need to find ways to customize and attune it for the PlayStation brand. Ryan stated…
“It’s a subject that is occupying us quite a lot these days, and something we’re looking at very carefully,” […] “We’re trying to find precisely what the role of the platform holder is in that value chain. Seeing how we can actually make the whole eSports thing bigger, better, different and bespoke to PlayStation is something you’re going to be hearing quite a lot about in the next year or two.”
Well there you have it.
I’m not entirely sure what aspect of e-sports Ryan is talking about. The MOBA and RTS space is thoroughly dominated by PC gaming, and home consoles aren’t attuned to either genre.
Fighting games makes more sense given that most of the FGC use PlayStation consoles for popular fighting games like Tekken, Injustice, Marvel Vs Capcom and Street Fighter. So it’s possible Sony could focus on tapping into that market a bit more and get a bit more aggressive with promoting the scene across the PlayStation consoles.
Overwatch is a game that’s also quite popular, but the figures on that game are so opaque it’s impossible to tell exactly where the majority of that market lies, and whether or not it can even be monetized as a legitimate e-sports avenue on home consoles. Otherwise most other FPS titles just aren’t very appropriate for home consoles.
Then again, maybe Ryan is talking about a bespoke experience centered around something akin to the PlayStation VR? Or maybe Gran Turismo? Right now it’s tough to see where Sony could make any sort of due leverage in e-sports that isn’t already dominated by PC, but maybe they’ll come up with something. Nintendo already seems to have Splatoon 2 and ARMS to look forward to as noteworthy e-sports games given the nature of their design, and it’s almost inevitable that organic communities will build up around both franchises.
However, Sony doesn’t have anything like that in their stable right now or anything on the horizon in the foreseeable future… unless they plan on making such announcements at E3 this year.