How To Build The Best eSports Management Software?
“Dota 2” and “CS: GO” are becoming global household names. Their success is a great indicator of the rapid rise of eSports. With the exponential growth of eSports, the market is demanding robust eSports management software.
If you are an entrepreneur trying to capitalize on this lucrative market, you need to understand how to build the best eSports management software.
Read on, for that’s exactly what I will explain here!
The market for eSports and the need to manage it well
The following quick facts illustrate the rapid rise of eSports:
- “Defence of the Ancients 2” (Dota 2), “Counter-strike: Global Offensive” (CS: GO), and “League of Legends” are just some of the eSports that are taking the gaming industry by storm.
- As I explained in “10 ways blockchain will revolutionize the eSports industry”, the market will grow from $865 million in revenue and 395 million viewers in 2018 to $1.79 billion in revenue, and 644 million viewers in 2022.
However, there are challenges plaguing the industry, e.g., lack of a legitimate and self-sustaining ecosystem, the absence of a transparent system to reward players/providers, etc. Also, eSports lack a uniform portal facilitating secure participation, which is impeding investment in this segment.
Features required in an eSports management software
You should offer the following features in your eSports management software:
- Users should be able to create and host tournaments in amateur to professional levels.
- The app should be a one-stop solution to manage arenas and events, and it should enable users to host tournaments.
- Your app should track statistics across a wide range of tournaments and platforms.
- Managing membership, games, and users should be possible with the app.
- The app needs to provide eSports news and facilitate community-building. It should enable users to use their social media profiles.
- Managing advertisements should be easy with the app.
- Players and tournament managers should be able to communicate with each other real-time.
- Live and recorded video streaming features are important.
- You can offer in-app purchase as an optional feature.
Esport-Management is a good example of one such eSports platform.
How to build eSports management software
A project to build an eSports management software involves the following steps:
1. Define the project scope, and choose a development methodology
I recommend the following project scope:
- Build a web app, an Android app, and an iOS app.
- Incorporate the features I have described above, and initially launch in just one region.
Let‘s build a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) with the above scope. Naturally, you will constantly enhance it post-release based on market feedback.
Agile methodology is the best choice for this kind of project, and you discover more via our guide “Waterfall vs Agile: Which Methodology is Right for Your Project”.
2. Formulate a project approach
For this project, I recommend that you adopt the following approach:
- Use a “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) for web app development and deployment.
- Utilize a “Mobile Backend as a Service” (MBaaS) for the mobile app backend management.
- Procure and use solutions for eSports management, cloud streaming, in-app purchase, online payment, voice and text chat, and SMS.
- Procure and use a solution to test web and mobile apps on a wide range of browsers and mobile devices.
- Plan for future expansion into further geographies/countries. Design and develop your app in a way that facilitates such future expansion, e.g., keep content and code separate. This approach is called “app internationalization”, and you can learn about it in “The ultimate guide to mobile app internationalization”.
- Develop, test, and deploy web and mobile apps.
3. Build a “Scrum” team
“Scrum” is a popular technique for managing Agile projects. I recommend that you use it here. Build scrum teams for different workstreams. These are small, cross-functional teams that are overseen by a project manager who performs the role of “Scrum master”.
The team works on iterations, which are called “Sprints”. Read more about this technique in “How to build a scrum development team?”.
The team needs the following roles:
- Business analysts (BAs);
- UI/UX designers;
- Web developers with Node.js skills;
- Android developers with Kotlin skills;
- iOS developers with Swift skills;
- A project manager (PM).
4. Find a PaaS provider
As I have explained in “10 top PaaS providers for 2019”, using a PaaS provider expedites web app development in the following ways:
- You don’t need to invest upfront in IT infrastructure since PaaS providers handle cloud infrastructure, networking, operating system, middleware, and runtime environment.
- Developers need to bring their code, and PaaS providers help in integrating databases, 3rd party APIs, and DevOps tools.
- PaaS providers also offer “Application Performance Monitoring” (APM) and auto-scaling solutions.
I recommend that you use AWS Elastic Beanstalk, which is the PaaS offering from AWS.
5. Sign-up with an MBaaS provider
Along with AWS Elastic Beanstalk, I recommend that you use your AWS account and sign-up for AWS Amplify, i.e., their MBaaS offering. I have already explained the advantages of using an MBaaS provider in “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?”.
- MBaaS providers handle cloud infrastructure and persistent storage, therefore, you don‘t need to manage the mobile backend.
- You can easily integrate 3rd party APIs and auto-scaling solutions with your app.
- MBaaS providers enable easy implementation of push notifications, user management, and security solutions.
- The multitude of available mobile platforms and devices increase the complexity of mobile app development, however, this is easier to manage when you use an MBaaS provider.
6. Procure an eSports management API solution
Expedite your eSports management app development with an “Application Programming Interface” (API) solution for the core function. Toornament offers such a solution, with the following features:
- It enables eSports organizers to create, manage, and share their tournaments.
- Toornament solution is suitable for desktop, console and mobile platforms.
- It‘s easy to set up tournaments in various formats.
- The solution makes participation management easier.
- Their other key features include reporting and statistics, integration with communication and video streaming solutions, and displaying tournament schedules.
- You can access their APIs here. The page includes comprehensive documentation.
7. Get a streaming cloud solution
Streaming is important for eSports, and you need a robust streaming cloud solution in your app. Consider using Wowza, which provides a suitable solution. Note the following relevant facts:
- Wowza streaming cloud offers high-quality, low-latency streaming.
- You also get their GoCoder SDK free with the streaming cloud, which helps in mobile app development.
Wowza streaming cloud pricing information is available here.
8. Sign-up for a voice and text chat solution
An eSports management software should enable players, team managers, and other stakeholders to communicate using voice and text chat. Mesibo offers an excellent solution for this. Note the following:
- You can incorporate voice and video calls, moreover, you can integrate text chat.
- Mesibo has a scalable solution with low latency.
- It supports web, Android, and iOS.
- You can read about their APIs and SDKs here.
Check out their pricing plans here.
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9. Find a bulk SMS solution for the mobile app
Your Android and iOS apps need a bulk SMS solution to engage your users. Twilio has the right solution for this. Note the following:
- You can use their “Programmable SMS” offering.
- They have extensive documentation, and you can access them here, and here.
- Twilio pricing plans are available here.
10. Get an online payment solution
The eSports management app will need a payment gateway to facilitate online payments. Braintree offers a reliable solution, and it is worth noting that PayPal is behind Braintree. The “Braintree Direct” solution offers the following features and advantages:
- It helps to prevent fraud, moreover, it scales well.
- There are excellent security and reporting features.
- Braintree supports card payment, PayPal, etc.
- They have excellent documentation, moreover, there are integration guides and tutorials.
11. Sign-up for an eCommerce solution (optional)
If you offer an in-app purchase feature, you should sign-up for an eCommerce solution. BigCommerce has an excellent solution, with the following advantages:
- BigCommerce eCommerce APIs are easy to use.
- You can easily integrate standard eCommerce features like cart, checkout, etc.
- Check out their pricing plans here.
12. Plan to test with a wide range of browsers and mobile devices
App users of the eSports management app will use a range of browsers and mobile devices.
It‘s important that you test your web and mobile apps with as many browsers and mobile devices as you can. Open-source test automation frameworks are helpful, but you need additional help to address this aspect.
Experitest has a solution that you can use, as follows:
- Their SeeTest mobile device and browser lab on cloud enables you to test with a wide range of browsers and devices.
- SeeTest lab offers excellent integration with popular web and mobile testing automation frameworks.
- You can run parallel tests, and Experitest provides insightful test reports and analytics.
You can find their pricing plans here.
13. Code, test, and deploy the web app
Use Node.js, the popular open-source runtime environment to code the web app. It offers several advantages, as follows:
- An eSports management app needs to scale well. Node.js supports asynchronous programming, which helps with scaling.
- Streaming is a key feature in an eSports management app, and Node.js helps in implementing it.
- Your app will need a NoSQL document database like MongoDB. Using these databases becomes easier with Node.js.
- js has a vibrant developer community, which has resulted in thousands of shared tools and frameworks. This improves the productivity of developers.
Web app development involves the following:
- Use database resources on AWS Elastic Beanstalk according to your requirements. Read “Adding a database to your Elastic Beanstalk environment” for guidance.
- Integrate eSports management, cloud streaming, voice-and-text chat, payment gateway, and eCommerce SDKs/APIs in your code.
- Test, and deploy on AWS Elastic Beanstalk. Read “Deploying Node.js applications to AWS Elastic Beanstalk” for more information.
14. The mobile app UI design
The mobile app needs an easy-to-use UI, therefore, use the following guidelines:
- “Human Interface Guidelines” for iOS app UI design;
- “Material Design” guidelines for Android app UI design;
- “Mobile navigation menu examples” for choosing an appropriate mobile menu pattern;
- “8 trends in mobile app color scheme” to select the right UI color scheme;
- “How to design the perfect icon for your mobile app?” to design icons for the mobile app UI.
15. Android app development
Now you can proceed with the Android app development.
- Use Kotlin, the modern programming language for Android development. Its lightweight library makes the app highly performant, while the concise syntax of this open-source language improves the productivity of programmers. Kotlin also helps developers avoid common errors like null pointer exception.
- I recommend that you use Android Studio, the popular IDE for Android app development.
- Android Studio supports Kotlin, and you can read “Get started with Kotlin on Android” if you need guidance.
- Integrate Toornament, Wowza cloud streaming, Mesibo, Braintree, BigCommerce, and Twilio SDKs/APIs.
- Use Espresso for testing, along with SeeTest mobile device lab.
- Publish your app to Google Play using this guideline.
16. iOS app development
You need to go through the following steps for iOS app development:
- Code your app using Swift, the programming language championed by Apple. Swift helps developers to code fast, performant apps. It‘s easy to read, and Swift has powerful features and operators that improve productivity.
- Use Xcode, the IDE of choice for iOS development.
- Integrate eSports management, cloud streaming, voice and text chat, payment gateway, bulk SMS, and eCommerce SDKs/APIs.
- Test your app using XCTest and SeeTest mobile device lab.
- Follow this guide to publish your app to the Apple app store.
17. Use the right project management tools
A scrum team works as follows:
- They plan iterations in “Sprint planning meetings” based on requirements from the “Product owner”.
- The scrum master holds a “Daily stand-up meeting” to track the project status.
- Project stakeholders approve the sprint in a “Sprint review meeting”, where the team demonstrates that the app is working.
You should use Asana, a robust tool for managing Agile projects. I also recommend that you use a real-time dashboard. You can read “How a real-time dashboard can revolutionize your eSports development process?” to understand the values such a dashboard offers.
Planning to launch an eSports management software?
eSports is a competitive market, and your app needs to stand out to be a success.
While cloud platforms, SDKs, APIs, tools, and frameworks can help, you can expect this to be a complex project. Consider engaging a development partner if you don’t have the expertise you require.
Read “How to find the best software development company?” before you do so.
Best of luck with your project.