Tournament Over-saturation in Hearthstone
Are there too many tournaments in professional Hearthstone?
Over the last year, Hearthstone has become one of the most popular collectible card games in history. The game we all know and love has enjoyed a massive influx of casual players, as well as new players in the professional scene. However, as it matures, it runs the very real risk of over-saturation due to the vast quantity of tournaments held each month. Professionals and fans have differing opinions on the matter, but one thing is for certain: there are a lot of Hearthstone tournaments in which to participate and watch.
As Hearthstone gains notoriety within the eSports community, it must compete with highly successful games, such as Starcraft 2, League of Legends, and Counter Strike. Viewership is always a concern for sponsors, which are necessary to put on quality events, both offline and online. There are Hearthstone tournaments of one type, or another almost every day of any month. This is great for fans that love to watch the game, or skilled players seeking to make a name for themselves. However, it can serve to fragment the viewership, as viewers are spread across many platforms. Many outlets exist for fans to watch tournaments, including Twitch, YouTube, and Hit Box. If a given event such as the Viagame House Cup #3, which occurred back in May, is streamed on each of the aforementioned platforms in addition to its own site, an accurate viewer count can be difficult to establish. In conjunction with the various technical difficulties that come with streaming, this can make it difficult to obtain big name sponsorship, such as Nvidia, Nissan, or Coca-Cola.
Tournament over-saturation is a major concern in Hearthstone, but we’re not there yet according to many professional players. When we look at the situation through their eyes, we see that it is their livelihood, and who doesn’t want to have a large quantity of viable sources of income? Many pros have spoken about the issue, and expressed their feelings of excitement about the rapidly growing scene.
Last week I spoke to Jimmy, Manager of the newly formed Team HSP about his thoughts on the subject, as well as his own foray into hosting tournaments. He had this to say:
Jimmy – Team HSP
Hearthstonely: What are your thoughts on tournament oversaturation, does it exist? If so, what can be done to alleviate it?
[HSP] Jimmy: “The more tournaments the better – as long as it is well run. Hearthstone is still a new game compared to the other eSports game of Counterstrike and League of Legends. We got a lot of catching up to do!”
Hearthstonely: Why the decision to run weekly open tournaments instead of monthly invite ones?
[HSP] Jimmy: “Running a site that depends on user feedback and engagement, I felt that the open tournament scene is rather lacking. The invited tournament is saturated – and it’s usually the same players. And you’ll need to have deep pockets to run those. We’re new to the scene, so we’re taking smaller steps and getting more hands on with the open community. We’re going for engagement/participation over views for now. Eventually we’ll have tiered tournaments, where winners of our open tournaments get qualified for the ones with a bigger prize pool.”
In a recent interview with Hearthstonely’s Birdlepop, Tempo Storm’s newest member Tang “Eloise” Haiyun also expressed her views on tournament over-saturation.
Hearthstonely: Some industry commentators believe that the tournament scene is becoming saturated. How do you feel about this, and how do you think things could be improved?
[TS] Eloise: “Tournament scene is being saturated? No – I think we’re still getting new faces every month. How do you think things could be improved? I play a lot of open qualifiers but it is very hard to keep on winning. I think it’s very good to have those open qualifier but at the same time people are not very interested in watching open qualifiers, so that is a big problem too. But we are still getting new people.”
No matter what your thoughts on the over-saturation of tournaments in Hearthstone, it’s obvious that the scene is thriving. In each new tournament that includes a qualifier, we see fresh new faces who claw their way to the top of the brackets, often laying waste to many seasoned professional players. Perhaps a bit of over-saturation is preferable to stagnation. As Hearthstone grows, we’re sure to see things even out a bit. What are your thoughts?
Please let me know in the comments below!