Dev Blog #2: Splitgate's Future in Esports, and Tournaments!

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Hey Splitgang! Endo coming at ya with another blog!

It’s no secret that we want Splitgate to blossom as an Esport, just like the game itself. If you look at Splitgate’s old logo, it’s clear that we drew some inspiration from professional sports leagues. Less than 2 months have passed since Splitgate has come to Console, and in that time a hoard of new talent arrived on the scene, ready to compete. We’re really excited to see what the future of Splitgate Esports has in store, but first, let’s take a quick look and appreciate how far Splitgate has come as an Esport!

This is a Grand Finals match, recorded by the player Jello, which took place exactly 2 and a half years ago to the day, March 3rd, 2019! You don’t need to be a professional VOD reviewer to see all the game’s changes, but allow me to point out certain things. Everything from the sound effects to the game settings are different. What you probably noticed right away is how the Pistol is a completely changed weapon. The Pistol back then served the same exact purpose as the Carbine does today: it shoots slow and hard which rewards accuracy. And before you say anything, no, the pistol is never going back to this. 😊

But what I really want to bring to your attention is the difference in play style compared to today. One minor reason for this are the game settings; that DOM match only went to 500 points and had a time limit of 8 minutes. The main reason the play style is different is simply because the game was still very new to these players. Compare this video with the most recent tournament, same game mode and map: Domination on Helix. More portals are being used during combat and you can tell there’s a deeper understanding of how the map flows. In short, the skill ceiling has grown tremendously over the past 2 years, something that naturally happens to any competitive game.

“That’s nice, but what’s the point?” I hear you asking. As a game, Splitgate has very high expectations to meet in terms of playability, grindability, and overall experience. The Devs and I can’t wait to share all the updates and improvements we have planned! But can Esports also help with a game’s success? To help answer this and to talk about where Splitgate Esports is going, I spoke with reigning Pro Champion, Mattie.

@MaybeMattie on Twitter

“I definitely think that the level of play in these recent tournaments has turned some heads of viewers. I’ve seen chats (in my stream) sometimes comment how I ‘make that look easy’ whenever I make a play, and that’s kinda why I think top-level play can draw in new players and new talent. Then you see the professional tournament streams like we saw with this last one and the quality casting and presentation of it all. It really helps the audience keep up with the fast paced gameplay.”

This is something I definitely agree with, at least when it comes to Splitgate. In most First-person Shooters, it’s usually easy for the average viewer to understand how a play was made, either because they flanked the enemy from a different corridor, or simply because they had cracked aim. Splitgate, in my opinion, has an “awe” factor to newer players. The portals are usually difficult to fully grasp at the beginning, especially in the way the Pros use them. Of course, the difficulty in understanding can cut both ways, but with either an informative streamer or good tournament casters, the mind's of viewers don't have be blown THAT badly.

Splitgate Esports logo and banner created by Stack

When asking Mattie his opinion of where the skill ceiling was a year ago and where it might go a year from now, he said, “There’s definitely a big difference from a year ago. These days everyone can triple portal, the games move faster, and the margin for error is slim. It’s kinda gotten to the point where I’m not sure how much individual skill can improve with portals, but I guess we can’t know for sure. Where I see the most improvement happening is on the team level, like what the strategies will be and how teams work together. One thing’s for sure: the higher level of competition there is, the more fun Splitgate is to me.”

If a pro is having fun from playing the game, then it’s a good sign that Esports is headed the right way. It doesn’t mean we don’t have improvements or changes to make, but I would say it’s a great place for the game to be!

So, what about future tournaments or competitions? You can count on Splitgate having more tournaments, which means more opportunities to watch top-level play and more opportunities to participate. Right now, we’re working with entities that will make it easier for us to host more Esports events. We don’t have anything to announce today, but I can confirm we will be having an official event involving console, soon.

Above everything else, we believe Esports is a celebration of games we love, and Splitgate will have a lot to offer the Esports world.

Make sure to follow the official Splitgate Esports on Twitter for news and announcements, @SGEsports. Until next week!

-Endo

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