You Android gamers no longer need an iPhone to win money from Apple-device owners in mobile esports tournaments. One of the bigger mobile-esports startups is working to bring everyone together.
Skillz, a company that specializes in real-money mobile gaming competitions, is launching a crossplatform multiplayer system. This will enable people on iOS and Android to play against one another in any of the thousands of tournaments on the Skillz daily esports platform. Skillz is already in several games on iOS and Android (like GnarBike Trials), and this gives players the chance to enter tournaments (some for real cash). It competes in this space with other startups like Cashplay. Previously, these contests would have limited themselves to a single mobile operating system, but that is no longer a problem. This could help Skillz — and developers that integrate its tech — to capture more money from the $30 billion mobile-gaming market — and worry less about choosing the proper platform.
Skillz already has 7 million players and 1,100 studio partners. In 2015, the company claims it paid out $16 million in earnings to its players. Last year, esports tournaments paid out approximately $64 million in prizes, according to industry tracking publication esportsearnings.com — but that doesn’t include anything Skillz has done.
“As esports achieve mainstream adoption, multiplayer competitions should be accessible to all 2.1 billion mobile gamers worldwide,” Skillz chief executive Andrew Paradise said in a canned statement. “Just like the AFL-NFL merger in 1966, or the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, we are unifying the competitive ecosystems of the two most popular mobile eSports platforms. This is a seminal moment in the future of sports.”
Esports is certainly growing to a level where it is comparable to traditional sports like baseball and basketball. And big names from those leagues, like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former Los Angeles Lakers player Rick Fox, have invested in the space. With audiences and prize pools growing year after year, these people likely see a big chance to make money from the next big thing.
Correction: This story originally implied that esportsearnings provided first-hand data to GamesBeat regarding how much money Skillz has paid out to its players. That number actually came from Skillz and is only based on data from esports earnings. I’ve edited the story to more accurately reflect the data.