Esports Gets Local With Facebook's New DIY Tournament Tool
from the beer-eleague dept
The evolution of esports has been in progress for some time now. Once met with chuckles and the rolling of eyes, now esports is big business. We’ve seen esports hit certain checkpoints on its way to full legitimacy, from college scholarships, to leagues run by IRL professional sports organizations, all the way up to having esports tournaments broadcast by the likes of ESPN.
But part of what makes professional sports fun, and what would represent the next step in the growth of esports, would be to see play start to occur at the non-professional and local level. Facebook looks to be trying to bring that very thing about with a new platform for do-it-yourself esports tournaments.
Today, Facebook Gaming is launching Tournaments, a new feature that lets users create, join or follow virtual game tournaments. The tool offers everything from registration to seeding, bracket management and score entry. You can host single elimination, double elimination or round robin tournaments, and best of all, it’s open to anyone.
Facebook says it’s meant to be a “one-stop shop for everything critically important for tournament organizers.” It should also offer better discovery for tournament participants, and provide developers and communities with an easy way to connect. Creators can host tournaments while streaming, and the feature includes new charity tools that let creators fundraise for important causes.
Now, this is Facebook, so we all need to be wary of this entire thing morphing into some advertisement-wrapped, data-slurping nightmare rather than what it should be: the digital equivalent of beer league softball. If that is in fact what Tournaments becomes, you might start to see a much wider number of people adopt esports as a hobby, which will directly feedback into the interest of professional esports leagues. That is exactly how it works with baseball, golf, and other sports: you play the game as a kid or as an amateur, and it makes you appreciate the skill of the professionals all the more.
It’s also worth noting that, whether by mistake or design, Facebook is managing to announce Tournaments at the perfect moment in history.
The product isn’t quite complete, but Facebook recognizes that gaming is one way people can stay connected, safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is opening early access to Tournaments. You can test it out beginning today at https://www.facebook.com/gaming/tournaments.
While Twitch still dominates the game streaming market, Facebook Gaming is on the rise. By the end of last year, the platform had an 8.5 percent market share, and it saw a 210 percent increase in monthly viewership year-over-year. The Tournaments feature could help Facebook Gaming standout a bit more.
With all of the social media connections, there is some ease in using Facebook to run your own esports tourneys as well. Again, we’ll have to see just how good Facebook’s execution on all of this is, but a good platform for DIY esports can only drive it further into the mainstream.