2019 has been a landmark year for mobile esports with multiple titles trying their hand at building a stable and sustainable ecosystem. While some intrinsic problems continue to plague mobile titles in particular, overall, it's been a good year with almost all major titles hosting tier 1 international LANs as well as local domestic ones to boost the individual regional scenes. Even in terms of acceptance, mobile titles are finding importance within the global ecosystem with almost all big organizations having entered the fray. Today we look at the top 5 mobile esport titles in 2019
5. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang - Moonton
The M1 World Championship was the most premier event for MLBB in 2019 | Image via: @soyacincau
In the MOBA category, one title that is really popular in South East Asia in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Despite the slightly in your face name, MLBB has found a massive audience in SEA with league such as the MPL or Mobile Legends Professional League running in countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. According to some sources, franchise teams had to pay 1 million USD for slots at MPL-Indonesia. The publishers even hosted the M1 World Championship. a quarter million dollar international championship, featuring teams from across the world. While the title has been doing really well in terms of a massive player base, there are growing concerns that the release of League of Legends mobile version might cause players to migrate as the games are quite similar.
Total Downloads: Over 230 Million
Major Tournaments: MPL-ID, M1 World Championship
4. Clash Royale - Supercell
Team Liquid are the reigning World Champions | Image via @Clash Royale Esports
Supercell is one the most successful game companies out there, especially for mobile titles and in many ways have pioneered the multiplayer experience on the mobile platform. With titles such as Clash of Clans, still enjoying a massive amount of popularity till date, Supercell's impact and influence on mobile gaming in general has been massive over the years. Clash Royale, a card based, real time strategy game is finds its place in the top 4 for being a really competitive title and a sustainable esport. It's also the only title to have real influence in the West, a region where mobile titles haven't quite taken off yet. With teams such as Team Liquid, NRG and Complexity getting in on the action, tournaments such as the recently concluded Clash Royale League 2019 World Finals saw decent success. What's most important though is the fact that Clash Royale is a game with a unique concept that has easy to pick up and play as well as enjoy. The title also receives good support from the developers in the form of new content and patches, quite regularly.
Total Downloads: Over 100 Million
Major Tournaments: Clash Royale World League
3. Arena of Valor - Tencent/Timi Studios
Image via @Tencent
Arena of Valor or Honor or Kings (in China) is another title in the MOBA category that has been doing really well. It's one of the biggest games in China, with tournaments such as the Champions Cup, boasting prize pools of nearly half a million dollars. Even outside of China, both the AOC World Cup and AOC International Championship have half a million dollar prize pools. The title was even part of event such as the South East Asian Games in 2019 as well as the Asian Games in 2018. With Tencent's backing, the game has managed to build a very sustainable ecosystem and is on a good course, both in terms of play rbase and viewership. It is also one of the few mobile titles that has active third party tier 1 tournaments.
Total Downloads: Over 270 Million
Major Tournaments: AOV International Championship, Honor of Kings - Champions Cup
2. PUBG Mobile/Peacekeeper Elite - Tencent
PUBG Mobile's success in India has led to massive growth for gaming and esports in the country | Image via @PUBG Mobile India
A title that has seen massive success on PC was ported to mobile in 2018 and PUBG Mobile has completely changed the landscape of the mobile gaming industry. With over 600 Million downloads, the game found instant success with its natural popularity from the PC carrying over to mobile. Suddenly, an entire generation had access to a game, without owning a PC and regions like South Asia, SEA and China have started putting out massive numbers, led my community support and content creators. A thriving esport ecosystem has also emerged and while 2019 was in most senses, the first year, Tencent has already committed 5 Million USD for 2020. They have even come out with an entire structure on how tournaments will run with different tiers for players of different levels. The title is massively popular in South Asia, SEA and China while even western organizations are beginning to take notice and are trying to get in on the action.
Total Downloads: Over 600 Million
Major Tournaments: PUBG Mobile Club Open, PUBG Mobile World Series
Also Read: PUBG Mobile 2020 Esports Plans Explained
1. Garena Free Fire - Garena
Brazilian team Corinthians are the current Free Fire champions | Image via @Garena
Despite many thinking that Garena Free Fire is PUBG Mobile's poorer cousin, the title has blossomed in regions such as South America and has managed to hold it's own in a genre that is quickly finding itself saturated. With over 2 Million viewers tuning in at peak times during the Free Fire World Series Finale, experts were left baffled as even tier 1 titles such as CS:GO and Dota 2 are unable to consistently hit these kind of figures. While in terms of structure and stability, the game could do better, it seems as if the title has a natural appeal that many have missed. It's largely popular in South America and SEA, but is quite untapped in big regions such as South Asia and China. Should some efforts be made, it's very easy to see the game hitting records numbers and booming as the undisputed champion of the mobile BR genre. 2020 will be the real test for Free Fire as it looks to reach audiences in more regions and try and expand it's popularity in NA and Europe. With over 1 Billion USD generated in revenue, it will be interesting to see if and how the publishers are willing to invest back into the community to reap even better rewards in the future.
Total Downloads: Over 450 Million
Major Tournaments: Free Fire World Series, Free Fire Asia Invitational