I am very hopeful that Evolve develops some form of esports legitimacy, but I think there are some things that are holding it back. I know TRS has talked about how they want to help foster esports growth with their game - that’s why they put in observer mode - but I’m worried it won’t be enough.
I’d like to say up front that I might just be unaware of some of the resources that TRS has already made available to the community, but that I wanted to post this thread anyway. I feel like there are two things that will really hold the game back from getting a large enough fan base to develop itself as an esport.
First, and most importantly, is that observer mode is a great start, but that it won’t have the kind of effect it needs to. For tournament viewing, it’s great. I watched a game through it with a match my friends decided to play together, and it was pretty cool to watch. The problem is that I had to watch it as a custom match - there’s no way to view online public games. I think this is a bigger problem than it appears to be at first because it means someone has to be invited to view a private game as a spectator. If TRS is looking to make Evolve a spectator sport, this won’t really help that much - tournaments will look really cool, but there won’t be a lot of people who will know or care enough to watch them because there isn’t a built up viewer base.
The other issue with the current observer mode is that it can (and this is where I’m not sure if I’m unaware of something) only be viewed y those who have already committed to investing $60+ in the game, which means there will never be a fan base for the game that is any bigger than the player base. This misses out on a huge potential audience of people who may very well be interested in watching the game, but do not wish to spend $60 to do so.
I’m not sure if this is even possible, but I think a good solution to these issues might be to rent a web domain where people can view ongoing public matches (at a 5 minute delay so people can’t use it to cheat), with easy links to pro-level custom games and tourney news. This would make it so anyone, whether they play the game or not, can enjoy spectating Evolve and get excited for it, and would double as a great place to post tournament news to the group of people who would be most enthusiastic about it.
Evolve is easily one of my favorite games of all time, and is definitely my favorite multiplayer experience to date. I hope that it sees a lot of success in the future, and that maybe some of these ideas might help it do that.