The rise of eSports has brought competition to new levels, with players competing in games that range from first-person shooters to battle royale titles. However, as the story of Erryn Rhoden shows, eSports tournaments are not limited to traditional titles. Rhoden, an ordinary person who works at her family’s roofing company in Columbus, Ohio, accidentally entered the Candy Crush Saga All Stars Tournament, the biggest Candy Crush tournament in history, and has become one of the most successful eSports athletes in the country.
Candy Crush is a match-3 game that grosses hundreds of millions of dollars each year and is widely played worldwide. The All Stars Tournament, held every few years, is an in-game event where players compete against each other by racking up the highest points during regular play. Unlike traditional eSports tournaments, players don’t face off against each other directly. Instead, they advance to later rounds by accumulating enough points to place in a certain leaderboard rank.
Rhoden entered the tournament by accident, clicking “yes” instead of “no” on a pop-up ad that tried to entice her into participating. She was surprised when she received a notification that she qualified for the tournament as she didn’t even know she was playing. Nonetheless, Rhoden’s practice and strategy allowed her to rank highly in the tournament, and she advanced through the qualifier and quarterfinal rounds to reach the semifinals.
Rhoden’s success in the Candy Crush tournament highlights the diversity of eSports and the potential for success in unexpected places. eSports tournaments are no longer limited to first-person shooters or battle royale titles; they can include puzzle games as well. Additionally, Rhoden’s accidental entry into the tournament shows that eSports tournaments can be accessible to anyone, regardless of their intentions or skill levels.
The Candy Crush tournament also underscores the incredible popularity of mobile games and the significant role they play in the games industry. Xbox’s CEO has even said that Candy Crush is the main reason why Microsoft wants to acquire Activision Blizzard. While some may dismiss mobile games as casual or simplistic, the success of Candy Crush and the rise of eSports show that mobile games can be just as competitive and lucrative as traditional titles. Mobile games are accessible to a broader audience, making them an ideal platform for attracting a diverse group of players to the esports industry.
The eSports industry is experiencing tremendous growth, with revenues projected to reach $1.08 billion by the end of 2021. This growth is largely driven by the increasing popularity of mobile gaming, which accounts for a significant portion of the gaming industry’s overall revenue. The success of Candy Crush and other mobile games in the esports industry highlights the potential for mobile gaming to continue to drive the industry’s growth.
Rhoden’s story also highlights the importance of accessibility in eSports. Traditional eSports titles often require expensive hardware, specialized controllers, and extensive training to compete at a high level. Mobile games, on the other hand, are easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone or tablet, making them an ideal platform for reaching a broader audience of casual gamers.
As the eSports industry continues to grow and evolve, it is likely that we will see more casual players like Erryn Rhoden enter the competitive scene. This trend has the potential to transform the eSports industry, making it more accessible and inclusive for gamers of all backgrounds and skill levels.