It’s not long now until Pokemon Go has a competitive league to back it up. For a game that didn’t even have battling when it first started, it has come a long way. The upcoming addition of official competitive play really puts the icing on the cake .
There are some questions about the legitimacy of Pokemon Go as an esport though. Many have pointed out that it is not the most skill-based when it comes to battling. Some of the workarounds for that do make the game seem different from other competitive games.
Can Pokemon Go even make it as an esport?
Pokemon Go is more about exploring and adventuring than actual battling. I mean hell, it didn’t even have the option to battle when it first came out. Any single element of the game might seem shallow without the others.
That’s why Niantic has made the new ranked play about more than just who has the best type match-up. You have to actually walk around and explore enough to unlock the ability to participate. Obviously, those that explore will also potentially have more powerful Pokemon to use as well.
As nice as these elements are, they don’t inspire all that much confidence. It seems like battles are pretty much all going to be decided by type match-ups, regardless of what you do. Gating the battles behind walking doesn’t really change that all that much.
Only time will tell what good will come of these new ranked battles. Pokemon Go might become a successful esport, or it might remain a game for Pokemon fans who want a mobile game to play.
The lack of skill required to win matches makes it seem unlikely that any high-level play will be possible. It’ll all be about whoever has walked around enough to level up their Pokemon or teach them better moves.
On the plus side, if Pokemon Go does become an esport it’s probably the only one going that actually forced players to get out and move around a lot.