Presented by Qualcomm Technologies
Traditionally, esports has been the domain of professional gamers, playing head to head on high-end, liquid-cooled PCs and competing for prize pools near $10 million. These tournaments draw 418 million mobile esports viewers worldwide right now, and by 2025, the number of global viewers will shoot up to over 548 million.
But smartphones have broken down the barriers to access, making the potential audience for esports so much larger, says Kevin Rosenblatt, General Manager, Mobile at ESL Gaming. Right now, 83.37% of the global population owns a smartphone; 2.5 billion of that population are mobile gamers, who now have the chance to compete for life-changing money in the mobile esports arena.
“We set out to change the trajectory of mobile esports by creating a highly diverse and accessible program with a very low barrier to entry,” Rosenblatt says. “We’re aiming to create fandom across a game-agnostic competitive mobile gaming product by creating the right environment for mobile esports to thrive long term.”
With this mission in mind, ESL Gaming partnered with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to create the Snapdragon Pro Series — the world’s largest multi-genre mobile epsorts ecosystem, with tournaments in North America, Europe, the Middle-East, China, North Africa and Asia-Pacific, culminating in a live Masters final event. The series features 10 popular mobile game titles and a $2 million prize pool.
“A world where everybody can be somebody”
ESL’s core mission, Rosenblatt says, is to create a level playing field, or a meritocracy in which every kind of player across the world can test their abilities, regardless of where they live, their socioeconomic status or background — a world where everybody can be somebody.
“That’s the great promise, I believe, of esports and these connected experiences,” he says. “From a competitive perspective, we personify this. From day one, everyone starts in the same place. And then from there, there are no barriers. A player or a team can rise to the level of their own skill or ambition.”
One of the most important pieces of that puzzle is representation, which is why ESL tapped a diverse array of talent in the program in order to reflect back the players and the communities they’re speaking to. The company gravitated toward mobile gaming in the first place because of that diversity in the player base, and the goal is to normalize that over the long term.
The Snapdragon Pro Series consists of the Mobile Open, Mobile Challenge and Mobile Masters, designed to create one unified “zero to hero story,” where a player moves from their couch to the big stage. Snapdragon Mobile Open is optimized for casual players but robust enough for seasoned competitors. Content is aimed at introducing new fans to the products and ecosystems.
From there, ambitious players can rise to the next level, the Mobile Challenge program, with weekly online longer-form broadcasts and structured competition, and live regional finals events. At the top is Mobile Masters, where the best players in the world can come face-to-face. And for spectators and fans, there will be 3,000 to 5,000 hours of content to interact with across the globe, as well as opportunities to connect at live events.
“As we execute on all of the above, we believe we’ll create something that has unprecedented scale,” Rosenblatt says. “It’s going to reach a total addressable market of millions of players and fans.”
The ESL Gaming x Snapdragon partnership
The partnership between ESL Gaming and Qualcomm brings together a 20-plus year leader in mobile technology and a 20-year leader in esports, for a multi-year and multi-million-dollar investment in the mobile gaming space. The two companies co-developed the series, from the underlying technology platform and tournament design, to ensuring that players and teams are keyed into the best mobile gaming devices.
“We build the features that provide seamless mobile gaming experiences no matter where you find yourself in the world,” says Matt Grossman, Product Marketer of gaming and esports at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The Snapdragon Pro Series exemplifies what our vision of mobile gaming is all about — bringing the excitement of competitive gameplay to gamer’s pockets around the globe.”
Snapdragon Elite Gaming is the top tier feature set in Qualcomm’s premium Snapdragon smartphones. It offers more than 50 features within the set, including better visuals with superior frame rate and resolution, lower latency on touch input, and sharp enough sound for full immersion and battlefield awareness.
It also offers minimal latency in both WiFi and cellular connections, because even the tiniest moment of lag can be the difference between winning or losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mobile gaming phones powered by Snapdragon Elite Gaming are also aspirational, because as new players get better, they start to invest in the tools they need to keep improving, whether or not they’re competing, simply because more powerful phones mean more immersive games.
“Snapdragon is the heartbeat of so many great experiences that are being powered globally and the heartbeat of our program,” Rosenblatt says. “Through Open, Challenge, and Masters, they are truly the driving force.”
“We are thrilled to be working with the ESL on this joint venture,” Grossman adds. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see Snapdragon technology be the engine helping to drive increased esport participation and engagement — alongside the positive impact we’ve had on the mobile gaming community.”
Fans looking to participate can head to SnapdragonProSeries.com right now to learn about season 2, as well as register and compete in upcoming Open tournaments. To follow the action, head to Snapdragon Pro Series on YouTube or Twitch.
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