Will the Xbox & Eleague Partnership be a Success?

Will the Xbox & Eleague Partnership be a Success?

Published: Monday, May 06, 2019Tagged: eSports, Gaming, Xbox One, Xbox One X,

One of the biggest upcoming games this year for the Xbox One is Gears 5, the latest instalment in the Gear of War series. As the Xbox One greatly lacks in triple-A exclusive titles compared to the competition, Microsoft is going big to make Gears 5 a huge hit. The company’s big play is to enter into a partnership with Eleague, which will delve into the eSports scene of Gears of War to bring attention to the upcoming release of Gears 5.

Will the Xbox & Eleague Partnership be a Success?

Through six, hour-long episodes entitled ‘Eleague Gears Summer Series: The Bonds and Betrayals of Brotherhood,’ the series will venture into professional Gears competitions, including backstage access, the lives of the professionals, and the matches played around the world. But will the partnership between Xbox and Eleague prove to be a success and bolster the standing of both the console and the game?

Losing the console wars

It’s a well-known fact that the Xbox One trailed the PlayStation 4 in the opening phase of this generation of console wars. Then came the enhanced Xbox One S and Xbox One X which, despite being superior in terms of hardware compared to the Sony consoles, didn’t help Xbox to catch up, recently reported to have fewer than half of the total PlayStation 4 sales. As if the PlayStation 4 wasn’t enough competition, the later release of the hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch, is also proving to be a major competitor. At the same ‘age,’ the Switch outsold both major consoles and is quickly closing in on the Xbox’s total sales figure.

The primary cause of the loss, besides the failed campaigns at launch, has been the lack of triple-A exclusives throughout the life of the Xbox One. Last year proved to be a massive year for gaming, and while Forza Horizon 4 was one of those major game releases, it was Xbox’s only competitor to the likes of God of War, Spider-Man, Pokémon Let’s Go, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – all of which were exclusives on other consoles.

While the 2019 release schedule for exclusive games on the Xbox One may include Battletoads, Gears 5, and Halo Infinite, the year got off to a rough start with the struggles of Crackdown 3 compared to the other top title releases of February. The issue doesn’t just span from Microsoft’s focus on the Halo, Gears, and Forza trifecta of exclusive franchises, it’s also the regular undeveloped state of released games and the many cancellations of other anticipated games, such as Scalebound and Fable Legends, which have left the gaming community disenchanted.

The power of eSports

The eSports industry has grown into a behemoth over the last few years, with the market surpassing $1 billion in revenues in 2019, marking a 26.7 percent year-on-year growth. It’s been found that about 82 percent of the mighty industry comes from endemic and non-endemic brand investments, such as advertising, media rights, and sponsorship, showing the immense draw of the industry. Competitions within eSports have become so popular and respected that brands are eager to be associated with the industry, including computing equipment suppliers, such as keyboards and headsets, as well as iGaming brands which offer odds and markets in CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Overwatch for fans to bet on prior to and during the live events.

While associated with massive, multi-million prize pool competitions will always appeal to brands, the viewership is the main currency of the industry. It was estimated that over 250 million people watch eSports competitions, with over 70 million viewers expected in a single eSports final as well as over 3 billion hours of footage viewed per year by 2020. Most importantly, it was found that most eSports viewers also play the games that they view in their competitive forms.

The appeal of eSports is massive to investors due to its huge viewer base, with the ability to break into the eSports scene with a competitive game potentially helping to raise the profile and subsequent sales of that game.

Xbox making a smart play

Following a notable eight percent uptick in digital video game sales from 2014 to 2015, which was accredited to the growing popularity of eSports, it was seen that the competitive gaming scene had become a strong tool for publishers to build awareness of their game. The industry has continued to connect audiences with gaming brands, which explains why Xbox is going big on its competitive approach with Gears 5.

As one of the console’s few exclusive games, there is a lot riding on the success of Gears 5. While the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch cater much of their exclusive offerings to single-player or couch co-op experiences, the Xbox One is going to be thrusting into the waters of the online gaming community with their exclusive triple-A game.

Through the use of a show and subsequent Gears 5 tournaments, the Xbox hopes to connect to the huge eSports audience through the game’s online modes and the power of the technology within the console. Given the history of multiplayer modes in other Gears of War games and their popularity, the partnership between Xbox and Eleague looks set to be a very successful play for the console trying the separate itself from its competitors.


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