Mobile devices have quickly overtaken PCs and consoles as one of the most popular platforms for competitive video gaming.
Previously unknown to many in the PC gaming community, mobile esports games are now not only featured in, but often place first on lists of the most viewed esports contests.
Thanks in large part to titles like Clash Royale and Garena: Free Fire, the mobile esports sector has taken off recently. To enter the lucrative (and expanding) mobile market, several developers have released mobile versions of well-known PC esports games.
We’ve created a list of all the well-known games with their own esports communities and support for mobile competition.
Call of Duty on mobile
Few video game series can match Call of Duty in popularity (COD). The Call of Duty Competition (CDL), a licensed esports competition for the game, was established by the game’s developer Activision Blizzard as a result of the game’s success.
Another popular mobile esports game is Call of Duty: Mobile, the Call of Duty mobile version. The Call of Duty Mobile World Championship 2021 was likewise held by Activision Blizzard, with a $2 million (£1.73 million) prize pool.
In addition to the World Championship, which has a sizable prize pool, the scene is completed by a number of lesser tournaments. COD Mobile esports has flourished among the well-known mobile esports communities of India, Brazil, and Southeast Asia (SEA) in general. The Philippines Championship 2021 had over 87,000 peak views, according to Esports Charts.
The Call of Duty: Mobile arena has also welcomed notable esports organizations including Natus Vincere, Team Vitality, FunPlus Phoenix, Wolves Esports, Tribe Gaming, and Blacklist International (competing under the name Blacklist Ultimate).
Mobile Tournament of Battlegrounds
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile is the benchmark for competitive mobile players. The game, PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds), was developed from the PC version of the same name and brought the Battle Royale gaming genre to mobile devices. The mobile version of the game has established itself as an extremely popular esport in its own right, often attracting more viewers than the PC version.
The PMPL is the highest level of competition for PUBG Mobile players in the professional world. The entire prize pool reached a stunning $6 million (£5.3 million) in the 2021 season, but it fell to $4 million (£3.6 million) the next year. Around the globe, in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Southeast Asia, five distinct PMPL Championships are contested.
This game is quite popular in South and East Asia, especially in Malaysia, China, and India. Chinese team Nova Esports won the 2021 Championship and earned $1.53 million (£1.36 million), finishing ahead of the Russian team NAVI. Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), which was introduced for the Indian market after PUBG Mobile was prohibited in 2020, was ultimately also forbidden by the Indian authorities.
Esports Charts data shows that with an all-time high of 3.8 million viewers, the PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2020 has the third-highest viewership of any esports event in history.
In League of Legends, the Wild Rift
The Riot Games League of Legends, one of the most well-known competitive video games in the world, is being ported to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets via a project called Wild Rift.
Both in the East, where mobile esports have historically been dominant, and the West, where they are far less well-known, Riot Games aggressively invested in creating a competitive environment for Wild Rift. In the West, Wild Rift had a significant esports following, but Riot Games announced in November 2022 that it will discontinue all operations outside of Asia.
The Wild Rift Icons Global Championship, the season’s final competition, will include twenty-four teams from eight different geographical areas. The 2022 Championship had a prize pool of $2 million (£1.8 million). Esports Charts’ data indicates that $5.2 million (£4.6 million) in prize money was given out for Wild Rift contests in 2018.
On the other hand, player interest in League of Legends: Wild Rift has lagged behind those of its main mobile MOBA competitors. 130,000 people watched an esports match on Twitch Rivals, according to Esports Charts. Just 54,000 viewers watched the Icons Global Championship 2022 at its height.
The Rocket League Sideswipe
A variation of the original game called Rocket League Sideswipe alters the gameplay in a distinctive manner. The soccer game’s premise is reworked for a 2D environment in Rocket League for mobile devices.
Since Rocket League Sideswipe won’t be released until November 2021, it is still in its infancy and may not be as challenging as its PC counterpart.
However, a small esports community has started to emerge around the game, and its creators are encouraging it. The developer of Rocket League, Psyonix, has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to prize pools for esports competitions.
Rocket Baguette in Europe, RLO Swipe Series in Oceania, Rival Esports in North America, Rocket Street in South America, and Grand Clash in Asia and the Middle East, respectively, are the organizations hosting these competitions.
There is a mobile version of the enormously popular PC battle royale game Fortnite, and it has even hosted esports events in the past. The IOS App Store and the Google Play store, however, removed Fortnite from their respective mobile app stores when developer Epic Games took the decision to design its own payment system in order to escape Apple’s and Google’s 30% app store transaction fee.
Even if Fortnite’s esports scene were to take off if it was once again available on major mobile stores, that day seems far off. The legal battle between Apple and Epic Games is still going on.
As a bonus, popular battle royale game Apex Legends, which has a small esports industry, will get an official mobile version in May 2021. However, there hasn’t been much of an esports presence in Apex Legends’ mobile edition. Despite having a very nonexistent esports presence and ecosystem, FIFA offers its own mobile version, FIFA Mobile.
In the meanwhile, more and more esports games are being adapted for smartphones. Riot Games has revealed that VALORANT Mobile is under development, while Rainbow Six Mobile’s closed beta is now active.