Sparkball, a game described as “League of Legends meets Rocket League,” is about to launch an early access weekend to let people try out the competitive experience for the first time. And developer Worldspark Studios has enlisted several popular esports teams to help show it off to the world.
Worldspark will host the Ascension Invitational online competition on Saturday, and the teams involved are esports heavyweights. Organizations include G2 Esports, Cloud9, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, NRG, Spacestation Gaming, Fnatic, Heretics, Method, and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
In some cases, teams include players from squads in other sports—eg G2’s Rocket League team—or famous Twitch streamers and content creators. They compete online in 4v4 “mobrawlers” that look like a fast-paced, gameplay-like riff on League of Legends.
The Ascension Invitational takes place one week before the game’s early access weekend, which will be held from June 30 to July 3. The competition, with a $32,000 prize pool and stream on Twitchdesigned to build excitement for the upcoming game.
Chandler Thomlison, founder and CEO of Worldspark, said Decrypt that his team wanted to prove the game’s “legitimacy” to potential players before the early access period.
Sparkball—previously called Edenbrawl—took a little time to understand, he said, and the ability for esports fans to watch the pros play it firsthand might make them check it out and stick with it.
“When a player sees a game streamed by their favorite creator, or sees their favorite org play in this competition, we think it makes them. want who loves the game,” he said. “That’s it want which we think will motivate players to get over the hump.
Landing the “absolutely ridiculous line” of teams, as Thomlison described it, was a challenge for a small game studio founded by veterans from Riot Games and Bungie. Worldspark was “cold-called by every org imaginable,” he said, and only started to build momentum after one of the teams played the game. That initial commitment helped bring in other clubs.
Even with the big esports brands involved, Thomlison said he’s less concerned about getting “super broad reach” from the competition and more focused on “deep reach.” If the online stream draws moderate eyeballs but converts most of the viewers into players, then he will be satisfied.
“If our viewer count is 1,000 people, but 750 of those became players for the early access weekend, we would call that a huge success—more so than getting a 10,000-viewer count,” he explained. “Reach marketing is an easy money solution. Conversion is not.”
Esports and crypto startups have easy allies in recent yearsbut even so, many players still don’t like the idea of NFTs and token-driven game economies. Worldspark gets that, says Thomlison, and Sparkball blockchain The elements are not even in the current version of the game. They don’t last long.
“We strongly believe that for mass adoption to happen, Web3 should not exist in gaming until it is a game, and people are actually playing it for fun,” he said. Decrypt. “Given the negative stigma around Web3 gaming, we want to make it very clear to potential players that this is just a game—and not a ‘Web3 game.'”
Worldspark plans to roll out crypto features in the future after the game launches its final beta period, and it will be “mostly cosmetic touches” that won’t affect gameplay.
If everything goes well in early access, the studio hopes to raise a lot of money and “pour fuel on the fire” – that is, expand the game with more characters, maps, objects, and elements. -progress to get players and hopefully keep them. . A beta launch is planned in eight to 12 months, Thomlison added, after more opportunities to play in early access.