What makes a game competitive?

It's not everyday that we see games that last generations. When I said that, you probably automatically thought of Mario. That's a good example because indeed, it's a game that the boomer generation knows, that the millennial generation knows and the Gen Z now knows as well. That means it passed the generation test. However, not a lot of games can claim that, especially not in the same fashion. Most of the time nowadays, games that last for a while and keep a community strong are games that have a competitive community. That helps the game fresh and usually keeps players interested as it generates viewers as well as players of the game. A lot of people get into competitive gaming from watching tournaments but today we'll discuss the other side of it today from the point of view of the developer!

There are many ways a game can be competitive
When I say competitive gaming, you're probably thinking of League of Legends, Dota, Fortnite, etc. which are definitely the leading competitive games at the moment. This is what we would call very typical competitive games because you have two teams (or more) essentially competing to be the best, exactly like a sports game. However, there's another type of competitive gaming and that one is mostly utilized in mobile gaming and that's where the game gets competitive by its score and rankings. You can see this in the phenomenal game that took over the world for a very short period of time: Flappy Bird. These hypercasual games are known to be easy to play but hard to master and the competitivity comes from the latter part. When everyone can reach a high score, there can only be one with the highest score and that's when it becomes very competitive. 

What are the keys to making a competitive game
Anyone can take any game and make it competitive. By anyone I mean anyone! There has been many situations in the past where a game was not meant to be competitive by the developers but the community took it and made it competitive. This notoriously happened with the Smash Brothers Series where Nintendo did not want their game to become competitive because that would deter casual players to play for fun with their friends. But the community decided otherwise and that's a big reason why the game is still thriving to this day. When people play competitively, they try to reach new levels and new heights which continuously makes the game more fun and exciting. On the flipside when the developers purposefully make the game competitive, they'll usually get the competitive community they want. The main downside is that because of maybe the more technical gameplay and mechanics now, it might not be as appealing to casual gamers which, let's not lie to each other, occupy the majority of the market. As a matter-of-fact, Nintendo made all their money banking on the casual gamers and that's why they're the leading gaming company today. 

Make your game worth getting deep into
So how do you actually make your game competitive? Well, make sure that it has depths. Whether you go with the competition type of competitiveness or the ranking style, it has to have different levels of "being good". It helps when there are mechanics or combinations that are hidden and that  the player has to discover on its own. That by itself will separate the people that know the trick and the people that don't giving a certain advantage to the people that do. If you take a game like League of Legends for example, it has a lot of depths and that's why it's still being played to this day. Making official competitions and having regular updates are good ways to keep fostering that competitive community too. 
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