The Future of Minecraft?
Last monday, I wrote about Valve’s addition of Paid Modding to the Steam Workshop, and the effects that could have on Minecraft’s vibrant modding scene. This week, lets examine the possibility of Minecraft as a competitive eSport.
eSports are one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment, and tournaments are now broadcast on ESPN2, and watched by millions on streaming sites like Twitch.TV, as well as attended by huge crowds at some of the world’s biggest stadiums. Regardless of whether or not you think they are a sport, eSports are big. So big in fact, that it was estimated that 71,500,000 people watched competitive gaming in 2013.
One of the most compelling reasons to play Minecraft is PvP. Whether it’s survival games, UHC or Kit PVP, player vs player combat is what makes Minecraft tick. The thousands of servers catering to PVP prove this. As I write this, and ad on PlanetMinecraft shows Youtuber ByteDistraction’s big highlights – Custom PVP Matches, UHC and Co-op PVP. This is one of many ads, for one of many youtubers who also specialise in PVP. Half of my livestreams (which will return in a fortnight, I promise), feature PVP. In short, PVP is a huge part of Minecraft.
With those two things in mind, consider what would happen if they were mixed together. What do you get? Minecraft as an eSport, played in front of millions of viewers, with gamemodes such as UHC and Survival Games. Massive prize pools, big stadiums, television spots. Minecraft would fill an interesting niche in the eSports arena. While MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2 offer games normally 40 minutes to an hour long, Minecraft would fill both the short and long game lengths. UHCs can take an entire day to complete, as evidenced by Mindcrack’s huge UHCs, although a fixed timelimit could help solve this. Survival Games matches on the other hand, can take as little as 5 minutes.
Update: I first started writing this article months ago, the week after I wrote about Valve’s paid modding. This morning I decided to finally tidy it up and publish it. During that time, Votable held their second UHC, and we covered it. However, As Asterious pointed out on twitter, I didn’t even mention it. Yet what better example of competitive Minecraft being broadcast as an event exists? None. During the qualifying rounds, Votable even managed to raise more than $1000 for charity. With that in mind, here’s a link to details about the UHC 2 finals, being held on the 11th of July.
With the upcoming combat update, I think a future where Minecraft is played in front of millions as a competitive sport is absolutely possible. Moreover, I want this reality to happen, because it would be awesome.