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Volume 26 No. 65
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NGE's Jason Woo Talks Future Of Battle Royale Games Like "Fortnite"

The battle royale genre has already brought an inflection point to video games in '18: Rapid mainstream popularity and acceptance. But its future growth represents the biggest unknown in the coming year, said Next Generation Esports GM & Chief Strategy Officer Jason Woo, whose company does white-label event production and strategic consulting for esports publishers. NGE has helped publishers like "Fortnite" maker Epic Games and Tencent produce competitions. Woo said battle royale genre publishers will be challenged to keep pace with the demands of spectator-focused video games. It’s a common challenge: Games can be one-off hits with players, but they require a new level of time and investment from developers to be watchable in the same way as established sports. For instance, Woo said he and others could “tell better stories” around the genre if there were more camera angles to show the action. But that requires intense effort from game developers, whose primary responsibility must be on the actual players of the game. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with battle royale,” Woo said. “I think it’s difficult. It really is. Development hours for publishers are very, very limited. What ends up happening is, camera angles get sacrificed. Watching most battle royale is very difficult. How do you follow it? So we’ve had to duct tape our way through the process." But, he said, "Fortnite" has struck a chord with audiences because it’s found a way to balance competition with fun. The game inspires competitive drive sufficient to support growing prize pools and a competitive scene, without bringing the “solemness” that makes some hard-core esports difficult for newcomers to appreciate.