In the world of esports, the boundaries of competition are constantly being pushed, and the Snapdragon Pro Series Powered by Samsung Galaxy is leading the charge. The Snapdragon Pro Series spans six global regions, including North America, EMEA, APAC, India, South America, and China, with participation from more than 40 countries. It offers year-round competition in nine of the most popular mobile game titles. The ecosystem is designed to cater to players and teams of all skill levels. Whether you're climbing through the ranks or playing for fun, there's a place for you in the Snapdragon Pro Series. The series aims to inspire the next generation of pro players and create a reliable path to professional play. It's all about fueling those "zero-to-hero" narratives that resonate with mainstream audiences and build vibrant fan communities. In its first two years, the Snapdragon Pro Series witnessed an astounding 3 million participants competing in over 7.5 million matches, signaling the explosive growth of mobile esports worldwide.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to check out the Snapdragon Pro Series Call of Duty Mobile Championship at Dreamhack Atlanta, right in my hometown.
The competition hosted 16 teams across regions competing for their share of an astounding $1,000,000 in total prize money, with the champions walking away with a remarkable $400,000.
For the first time teams from China were able to qualify and compete against their global counterparts in the US, EU/MENA, India, and APAC regions. China's Wolves Esports emerged as the champions, securing the $400,000 grand prize. Two of the three qualifying teams from China made it to the semi-finals, showcasing their competitive prowess. India's Godlike team had a remarkable journey. After failing to make it past the sweet-sixteen in 2022, they fought their way to the finals coming tantalizingly close to victory. Along the way, they defeated tournament favorites Luminosity, a US team many considered a super-group on the path to a repeat championship.
The Atlanta event wasn't just an experience for those lucky enough to attend in person; it captivated a global audience of millions online. The video-on-demand coverage alone amassed a staggering 2 million views, and during the finals, over 100,000 viewers tuned in simultaneously for the live action.
During my exclusive "behind-the-scenes" tour, I gained an appreciation for the incredible production values that make such remarkable numbers possible.
Picture a production crew that crafts individual streams tailored to different regions, highlighting specific teams to engage fans around the world. Visualize the commentators and analysts, who bring the excitement of the game to life. Envision the referees and administrators, the guardians of fair play, ensuring the rules are upheld.
Behind it all are the stage managers orchestrating every moment, the tech support teams keeping the machinery running smoothly, and the media and content creators capturing the magic for fans everywhere.
While at the tournament, I had the opportunity to catch up with Sam Braithwaite, Vice President of Game Ecosystems, Mobile at ESL. Before joining ESL, Braithwaite spent nearly four years as Activision Blizzard’s global director of esports, overseeing such titles as Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and other classic Activision Blizzard games. He is excited about bringing games such as Call of Duty to the mobile audience because of its size but, more importantly, because of its diversity. “Mobile gaming has contributed significantly to the growth of gaming worldwide, with over a third of the world's population identifying as gamers. What is even more exciting is that mobile gaming engages traditionally underrepresented groups in esports, including more women and people of color,” he told me.
The widespread adoption of 5G technology, ongoing enhancements in mobile computing, and the global ubiquity of smartphones have ignited the growth of mobile gaming. While many still perceive mobile gaming as inferior to PC or console gaming, it's important to acknowledge and embrace the unique opportunities offered by always-on connectivity and the convenience of having your gaming essentials readily available in your pocket. It is precisely this opportunity that got the attention of titles such as Call of Duty Mobile.
What truly captivated me during the event was the remarkable level of audience engagement. Having previously attended traditional gaming gatherings, the Snapdragon Pro Series tournament boasted an audience that was significantly more enthusiastic and supportive. It became evident that the tournament organizers were wholeheartedly committed to enhancing this engagement by doubling down on creative strategies and touchpoints.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Snapdragon Pro Series is the opportunity for fans of all ages to step onto the big stage. On weekends following the Call of Duty Mobile matches, gamers can compete against each other for exclusive prizes, all under the watchful eyes of the DreamHack audience.
In an industry where inclusivity is often overlooked, the Snapdragon Pro Series stands out for its commitment to providing opportunities for all gamers, regardless of their skill level or background. This dedication to inclusivity has garnered widespread support and created a diverse and passionate community.
One of the series' most remarkable aspects is its focus on nurturing emerging talent. It recognizes the importance of supporting the next generation of gamers through mentorship programs, scholarships, and opportunities for up-and-coming players.
Each tournament not only showcases exceptional gameplay but also serves as a catalyst for change, inspiring gamers to reach new heights, embrace diversity, and explore the possibilities of mobile gaming. The Snapdragon Pro Series is poised to leave a lasting impact on esports, solidifying its position as a trailblazer in the industry, captivating audiences worldwide, and leaving a legacy for generations of gamers to come.
Disclosure: The Heart of Tech is a research and consultancy firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this column.