Esports Mogul (ASX: ESH) has launched a major gaming tournament in Asia across 10 markets alongside US software giant Microsoft, as the eSports media and software company remains adamant it can buck the trend and avoid the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the eSports industry is grappling with mass-cancellations of live in-person events, although remote online gaming has been buoyed by the pandemic as gamers and spectators have flocked online to access their favoured gaming pastimes.
In a statement to the market this morning, Mogul announced the Asian launch of the largest Age of Empires tournament in the region’s history with Mogul’s pure-play online eSports tournament platform set to be used to administer and conduct gameplay.
Age of Empires II is an iconic real-time strategy (RTS) game, first launched in 1997. According to gaming aficionados, the game helped to define the RTS genre and continues to be a popular title played by generations of gamers across a variety of PC gaming systems.
Esports Mogul said the Age of Empires II Asia Cup will be a 12-month free-to-play tournament series offered to participants through its branded hub initiative which allows gamers to engage with iconic game titles in competitive play.
Conducting the tournament series means Mogul will receive US$70,000 (A$111,000) in project fees for providing the Mogul platform, tournament administration tools and associated branded hubs to pull in users and generate revenue.
One of the key caveats behind the tournament series, as well as Mogul’s overarching market strategy, is the use of localised features including distributing the tournament series in multiple languages to better suit various audiences around the world.
The company’s branded hubs offering will allow gamers to play and interact with others in their native language, as well as English, with five localised versions of the Age of Empires II Asia Cup tournament already planned including in Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean languages respectively.
According to Mogul, the first season of tournament qualifiers is now live with qualifier seasons being run in a competitive ladder format and stretching over four three-month long seasons including a “last chance qualifier”.
From each season, the top 16 players will advance to the grand final event called the Age of Empires II Asia Cup Major in early 2021.
In a bid to attract both professional and casual gamers alike, Mogul and Microsoft have organised a prize pool that includes Razer Silver and US$5,000 cash for winners throughout the 12- month series.
US giant Microsoft is set to play a key role in the tournament series by providing promotion support and a means of reducing admin costs.
The tournament series will be co-promoted by both Mogul and Microsoft, with next year’s finals set to be publicised and broadcast by Microsoft directly “on their own channels”, the company said.
In collaboration with Microsoft and its Age of Empires development team, Mogul declared that it has enabled game title integration, thereby facilitating what’s known as “automated match resulting” – a system that enhances the user experience for gamers as they can instantly track their match result, but also significantly reduces administration costs for Mogul.
“This partnership and tournament series really demonstrate Mogul’s technological ability with five localised Branded Hubs alongside the English Hub and automated match resulting,” said Mogul’s managing director Gernot Abl.
“This capability simultaneously enables Mogul to bring new opportunities to game publishers while delighting gaming communities. We can’t wait to see the next 12-months evolve,” he said.