Why Activision is partnering with the Snapdragon Pro Series to level up the ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ esports scene
As it enters its second year of operation, a leading mobile esports league — the Snapdragon Pro Series — is undergoing a significant upgrade that includes an expansion into both the Latin American market and “Call of Duty: Mobile” scene. The “CoD Mobile” expansion is the result of a partnership with Activision — signaling that the game developer still believes in the future potential of mobile esports in the Western market, despite the skepticism of some of its rivals.
The Snapdragon Pro Series is the result of a partnership between ESL FACEIT Group, the prominent esports tournament operator owned by the Saudi Arabian government-backed Savvy Gaming Group, and the wireless technology manufacturer Qualcomm.
While the SPS’s year-two expansion includes several notable updates, such as the introduction of a Latin American league and the addition of titles like “Garena Free Fire” and “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang,” the change that has elicited the most excitement from mobile esports players is the incorporation of “Call of Duty: Mobile” into the league, the result of a partnership between the SPS and the game’s developer, Activision.
“One of the great things about this two-year partnership is that we’re completely joining forces — the ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ World Championship is being completely integrated into the Snapdragon Pro Series,” said Sam Braithwaite, ESL FACEIT Group’s vp of game ecosystems, mobile. “What we’re noticing is a trend across developers and publishers actually starting to loosen the reins a little bit on their owned and operated platforms and and understanding the value that something like the SPS can provide.”
With the backing of Activision, the SPS’s first year of “CoD: Mobile” competitions will dole out $1.5 million in prize money to participating players. For the game’s largely grassroots competitive scene, this represents a massive step up in terms of developer support.
“It’s fantastic for the ecosystem, and I can’t be more pleased that we’re going to see that this year,” said Sylvia Gross, one of the founders of Mobile Mayhem, an organization that has operated “CoD: Mobile” tournaments since 2020. “I’ve been watching the markers from the very beginning of esports with this game, and year three is a target year for things like this to occur — for esports to really kick off.”
Activision’s partnership with the Snapdragon Pro Series shows how its outlook toward mobile esports has diverged from other major mobile esports publishers. In November, Riot Games announced that it would be shutting down leagues outside Asia for its largest mobile esport, Wild Rift, citing the overwhelming popularity of mobile esports in that region over others. But the SPS operates in North America, and Activision representatives were full-throated in their belief that the future of mobile esports in the region is bright.
“We will remain active wherever our audience and our player base is, and North America continues to be a strong market for both of those for us,” said Jared Oldham, a senior producer for “Call of Duty: Mobile” esports. “The 2022 World Championship featured an all-NA grand finals between Luminosity Gaming and Tribe Gaming, which shows that the competition remains strong in North America.”
There is reason for Activision to be confident in the future of the North American “CoD: Mobile” scene. Although mobile esports is generally more popular in Asian markets than in the West, due to the lower rates of gaming console or PC ownership in those regions, the “Call of Duty” brand is particularly popular in North America.
“I make a lot of content around “Call of Duty: Mobile,” and I get a surprisingly high number of United States viewers,” said Drake Johncock, a gaming content creator and co-founder of Mobile Mayhem. “Obviously, me speaking English contributes to that — but I think it is definitely the biggest opportunity right now to expand mobile esports in North America.”
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