How Guns of Boom is Going Pro – Game Insight’s Nikita Sherman Interview

Mar 31, 2019
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We sit down with Nikita Sherman, Game Insight’s Head of Strategy, to learn about the “Gods of Boom” competition raising Guns of Boom to the next level.

Appolicious: How did the eSports league for Guns of Boom come about?

Nikita Sherman: With a team-based shooter like Guns of Boom, finding an audience that thrives on competition was always going to be key to the game’s success. But even knowing that, the competitiveness of the players that flocked to Guns of Boom exceeded all expectations. As we continue to grow Guns of Boom, we’ve listened to what our players. It became clear even from our earliest days that the thing they most desired was a chance to prove their skills in a more organized manner.

Our journey to esports started with the introduction of Pro Play mode, which ensured an even playing-field for those who wanted to know that their wins and losses were based on pure skill. Following this, we began to take steps to organize a proper league structure, which we have done in close collaboration with our partners at ESL.

We are currently in our second professional season, and have expanded to four major territories – North America, Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia. This season’s prize pool is $500,000. ESL has been an incredible partner, and together we’re doing our part to put mobile esports on the main stage. And in the case of IEM Katowice, we did this quite literally.

App: What don’t people realize about the mobile eSports scene?

NS: The significance of mobile esports has been greatly underestimated by mass audiences so far, but we’re on the cusp of seeing that change. If you look at the numbers, the mobile gaming market is much bigger than PC and console combined.

In some parts of the world, mobile games are the only games that are being consumed by the masses. This is due in part to limited accessibility to hardware. While the average home in some regions might not be able to afford a gaming PC and a stable home internet connection, Low-end mobile phones proliferate in these markets and keep people connected. And games like Guns of Boom account for this. Sure it’ll run beautifully on your new Galaxy S10 — but Guns of Boom has also been optimized for low-end devices, ensuring a solid competitive experience no matter what you’re playing on. This opens up the doors for players from all over the world to participate in esports — not just those with tricked out gaming PCs and access to fiber.

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Mobile gaming is far more accessible than any other platform. This will have an incredible impact on the growth of esports.

App: Can you give us some insights on what goes into organizing an event like the IEM Katowice competition?

NS: Our partners at ESL are responsible for IEM Katowice, and were kind enough to welcome us onto the Spodek Arena main stage for our first ever Gods of Boom competition (a new tier introduced in Season 2 for top-level play at mega-stage events). We are very happy to have such a professional and experienced partner as ESL to pioneer this market with us together.

When it came to making sure that Guns of Boom was ready for such a huge opportunity, we put a great deal of thought into making sure it would be just as exciting to watch in a broadcast as it would be to spectate on the spot. This meant making sure the event was promoted to our players within the game, and that we offered different levels of interaction with the audience to get gamers involved on a deeper level.

App: Will Guns of Boom be aiming for more of an eSports focus in the future, retain its more accessible identity, or a bit of both?

NS: Definitely a bit of both. Guns of Boom is not a pure esports title, but esports is an important and well-loved part of the game. We’ll continue to develop the game to make sure we’re offering something great for both sides of our audience – those who crave esports competition, and those who just want to jump in and enjoy it casually. Guns of Boom has been created with the aim to become the best mobile FPS, and we like to think that’s a crown we’ve successfully claimed. Our second goal was to define mobile esports itself. It feels like we’re going in the right direction.

App: What are the league rules for Guns of Boom?

NS: There are three distinct tiers of competition in this season’s competitive play, and everyone is welcome to join in and  try and win their way to a spot at the professional level.

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The first level of competition is our Challenger Series, which provides a weekly series of online tournaments for participants to compete in. The highest ranking teams in our Challenger Series will qualify for a spot in our Pro Series. These are live events that take place all over the world, in venues ranging from broadcast studios to small arenas. Season Two’s first Pro Series event will be taking place at the Arlington Esports Arena in Texas on April 13th, and the second will be happening in Sao Paolo, Brazil later this season.

Pro Series winners are given the honor of participating in Gods of Boom, our highest-tier events taking place on the main stage of the world’s biggest esports events. The first of these took place during IEM Expo in Katowice earlier this month, and the next will be at ESL One in Cologne this summer.

App: How can interested players potentially participate in Guns of Boom competitions?

NS: Every player that has reached level 22 in Guns of Boom will unlock the ability to participate. Once they’ve done that, all they’ll need to do is sign-up at play.eslgaming.com/gunsofboom to get started with our weekly tournaments.

Appolicious: From humble beginnings to this next big step, what can we expect on the horizon for Guns of Boom?

NS: Guns of Boom is the market-leading first-person shooter on mobile, and we’re actively shaping what it means to compete in esports at the mobile level. To maintain this position, we need to continuously refine our product and approach to ensure we’re delivering the highest quality product for players. For the esports audience, that means providing them with the best broadcasters, producing marvelous live-shows, and defining the character of mobile esports competitors to ensure the best possible spectating experience for fans of the game.

Guns of Boom also made it to our Best Apps of 2018 list, which you can check out here for all of 2018’s best games!

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Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his colleagues, horrible puns. He's been working as a game journalist for several years now, and in addition to Appolicious, His other work can be found at GameCritics.com, I Need Diverse Games, and The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube. When not reviewing games, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the zillionth time.

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