What is Tetris 99 and Can It Be An Esport?
Up until now, battle royale games would be associated with weapons, a remote island and a bloody fight to be the last one standing. With the rise of Fortnite and Apex Legends dominating the gaming waves, many companies are looking to get in on the action. Not to be missed out, Nintendo is looking to change up battle royale games with the introduction of Tetris 99.
Tetris 99 is a multiplayer spin on the classic game that sees you and 98 other players compete to be the last player standing. While playing and clearing lines you can send ‘garbage’ blocks to disrupt fellow players. But be careful, as revenge is sweet and you never know when you could be hit back. Then, as standard in battle royale, the last player standing wins.
Tetris 99 is available free for subscribers to Nintendo’s Online subscription service. While this does currently limit the player base to those with a Nintendo Switch, Tetris has a clear cult following. In January 2010, it was announced that the Tetris franchise had sold more than 170 million copies, making it the bestselling paid-downloaded game of all time showing the strength of the current player base. However, now with the added competitive edge of Tetris 99, there is no doubt players will be flocking to try it out.
Would Tetris 99 be a considered a viable esport? With the mix of an established following and now a competitive element there is no doubt an audience exists. Then with the recent news of esports organization recruiting players for battle royale games – recently, orgs were searching for Apex Legends players within a week of release – there is a clear investment in esports from the business side.
Nintendo has been in the shadows of the esports scene, however, the release of Super Smash Bros Ultimate put a spotlight on the company’s future in competitive gaming. The company has also launched an official competitive website for their game Splatoon 2 which helps players find competitive teams and information about future tournaments. Now with the introduction of Tetris 99 which hits the current battle royale trend, Nintendo could be well on its way to viability in esports.