Top 5 companies that failed in esports.

Written by Michael Crossman

President of Claim Your Fame Inc. CEO of Claim to Fame Entertainment LLC

September 22, 2020

The esports business has become an industry for many big brands, but success stories are not always coming from it. Some of the biggest companies in the world are currently involved with esports in some way, but other big companies have also failed to succeed in the business. Certain video games have also tried to become esports but failed to be accepted by any esports community.

This shows that even though a game has competitive aspects, it may still fail as an esport. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest esports promotional fails on the marketing and branding fronts. These examples include marketing promotions that just couldn’t cut it and several video games, backed by big gaming companies, that failed in the esports market.

Bud Light’s ‘All-Stars’ Campaign

Bud Light didn’t do so hot in their esports promotion. The beer brand made an “All-stars” program with the intent to make an esports all-star team across five different games. This happened back in 2016, where Bud Light asked the community to vote for its favorite player between 20 selected esports athletes. The campaign ended up being promoted by some of the players themselves and some even got custom cars.

There was quite a lot of hype around the initiative in the beginning since it was a unique concept at the time, but it didn’t last long. The campaign slowly faded away and nothing really came out of it in the end. What could have been the first big adult brand getting involved in several different esports genres ended in a flop. Despite the flop, Bud Light is still involved in esports, currently being a partner for the League Championship Series (LCS).

Aldi’s ‘Teatime Takedown’

Most people wouldn’t think of Aldi as an esports brand, but the supermarket chain has actually tried to break through on the digital scene. Their campaign was aiming towards stopping kids from playing games so they’re ready when the dinner bell rings. The campaign did more harm than good, as many people in the gaming and esports community got provoked by the approach, accusing Aldi of being out of touch. 

Aldi called it “The Teatime Takedown stunt” which invited parents to call upon a squad of professional esports athletes to beat their kids in online games. The aim was to get their kids to finish the games before dinner. While there was a clear thought behind the Aldi campaign, it was nowhere near successful among the esports and gaming community and it’s unlikely that the supermarket chain will ever touch this business segment again.  


Gearbox – ‘Battleborn’

It’s not only mainstream brands that have flopped in esports. Video games have also failed to enter the world of esports. The first game on the list is Battleborn, which got completely destroyed by the popular shooter Overwatch. The game was in many ways doomed before it was even released, simply because it was too similar to Overwatch.

While many games appear a big similar to each other, it was not possible for Battleborn to compete with a game made by Blizzard that already had an established esports scene. While the game aimed to be an esports title, it never got anywhere near that. The competition from Blizzard was simply too big, which was enough to end the short story of Battleborn.

2K – ‘Evolve’

Next up we have Evolve, a game that is sort of a hide and seek game with monsters. The overall concept of the game was promising and the developers even had a deal with ESL to host some tournaments. The game started to fall off because it had way too many DLC packs, which was required to make the player experience optimal.

This is usually an instant no-go among casual gamers, so getting an esports scene around the game was doomed to fail. The game had a total of 44 items which were classified as a DLC, with a total cost of up to $75. Paying that much money to get involved in a game is rare unless we are talking about big games that have the capacity to do so. 

Motiga – “Gigantic’

Lastly, we have the game Gigantic which had huge potential to become a real esport. As the game released, the devs started running into problems though. From the beginning, they partnered up with Microsoft, which limited their options in terms of game exposure and publishing. The game ended up only being released on Xbox One and the Windows Store, which was an instant buzz kill. 

The game never got people’s attention since it was not available on big platforms like Steam, therefore an esports scene was never created around it either. This was all due to poor decisions and partnerships that it ended up flopping. 


Created by Vejvad & Dan

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