New York-based esports organization Andbox announced Thursday that it will compete in Call of Duty Mobile through a new partnership with an existing team, Trovo Mayhem. This is the fourth competitive team for the organization, which currently competes in Call of Duty League through the New York Subliners (NYSL) franchise, Overwatch League through its New York Excelsior (NYXL) franchise, and in Valorant through Andbox.
Under the terms of this new partnership, Trovo Mayhem will be renamed NYSL Mayhem and operate under the auspices of NYSL, giving them access to its coaching staff, content and marketing team, and more, the company said in a release. Financial terms of this deal were not disclosed.
In February, Andbox’s NYSL signed Call of Duty Mobile content creator BobbyPlays to a content creation deal. BobbyPlays, who is also the founder of influencer management group AmplifiedIM, has 655K subscribers on YouTube.
Speaking to The Esports Observer, Andbox co-founder Rohit Gupta said that working with BobbyPlays informed the company’s decision to enter into the Call of Duty Mobile scene.
“BobbyPlays is one of the largest influencers in the Call of Duty Mobile space and being more intimately part of what he’s been doing definitely got us excited even more so in Call of Duty Mobile, as well as what the business unit and the league are working together on including programming around mobile esports.”
Gupta believes that Activision Blizzard will ramp up its efforts for Call of Duty Mobile esports in North America because it is one of the few games to gain popularity in multiple regions around the world including China, India, and South America.
“What’s interesting is that mobile gaming is highly regionalized, in general,” he said. “South America and Asia are definitely at the forefront of mobile esports and they have their own games. However, something that we’ve seen is that Call of Duty Mobile specifically is one of very few games that has been able to succeed on a global level, and therefore I think that makes the world championships that much more interesting later this year.”
Mobile Esports in North America
More broadly, Gupta sees mobile gaming, and by extension, the competitive gaming scene tied to it, growing in the U.S. as mobile broadband technology like 5G sees rapid deployment in the country, and more sophisticated software enabled by high-end hardware makes playing and watching mobile esports more palatable to consumers.
“This is stating the obvious, but mobile gaming is obviously a massive opportunity,” Gupta said. “We’ve been involved with mobile gaming for a couple of years now, specifically through our Sterling VC fund where we made a number of investments in this space and got a really good understanding of the data and the growth there.”
As for why the U.S. has lagged behind other regions when it comes to mobile entertainment such as gaming and esports, it’s simply a matter of consumers in other countries living on their mobile devices.
“It’s a mobile-first culture in those regions, and the mobile product development in North America has lagged a bit in comparison up until very recently,” he said. “We’ve already worked with BobbyPlays in doing some activations around mobile and we continue to plan on doing more with the larger goal being to drive the overall mobile scene here in the U.S. and North America.”
As for Activision Blizzard’s plans for Call of Duty Mobile in the U.S., Gupta expects that the company will listen to fans and stakeholders, apply feedback, and ramp up its efforts over the next year.
“I think what Activision Blizzard does well is look at what resonates with the existing player and fan community around its titles and iterates on that to then do what’s best for the scene,” he said. “They’ve shown that they are willing to change things when it comes to competitive structures to make sure we maximize engagement. I think there’s a learning process as we go into next year, take the learnings from everything happening this year, and hopefully, come up with an even better product.”
Finally, Gupta expressed excitement in future mobile versions of games such as Valorant and Apex Legends and sees a future where Andbox might field teams in those games where it makes sense.
“Game developers are pouring enormous amounts of resources into developing mobile game versions of their titles,” Gupta said. “I think it’s a particularly exciting amount of investment around the innovation that’s happening and the space to create these unique experiences for consumers when they play on these devices. We look forward to expanding our mobile roster into other game titles in the future.”