In the last decade, eSports turned into a trending topic spurning a fast-growing global industry. eSports is a competition when gamers play against each other in teams. The concept is very similar to what you see in professional sports like football, basketball, and baseball. Only here, you have large-scale competitions involving a range of video games.
Today this industry attracts huge investments as it is watched by over 380 million people in both offline and online modes. In fact, in 2016, the League of Legendsesports game tournament drew 43 million viewers and more than the audience for NBA Finals Game 7 held in the same year – 31 million viewers. The industry is stillgrowing, characterized bydigital E-SPORTS PLATFORMandfragmented landscapes, but holds the promise of opportunity.
What Is Esports?
The term eSports is coined to refer to “electronic sports” where online gaming is turned into a massive spectator sport. The viewer experience is the same; just as one watches a professional sporting event, in an esport, the audience watches video gamers compete in a virtual environment. For the audience, the thrill lies in watching the top gamers play the biggest and latest games. They focus on the strategy used by these players as they navigate through each game level. Audiences can go online on anE-SPORTS PLATFORMto viewports-related games such as FIFA, NBA2K as well as new games like DOTA, Counter-Strike, and League of Legends.
For the players who compete, they either stream themselves playing individually, or they are scouted by larger organizations and then compete for larger cash prizes, with these organizations as their sponsors. Players can even engage their fans as they play, using online platforms like live-streaming platforms, social media, and in-person at a tournament.
Platforms and technology in the industry
Fans can tune into live or recorded global and regional tournaments to watch their teams compete. It is a huge ecosystem with multiple facets for many people interested inanalytics platforms,technology E-SPORTS PLATFORM, events, services that are all powered by investor capital. Unliketraditional sports that havespecial orphysicallimitations,esports is scalable and fast-paced because it relies ondigital platforms.
For example, in basketball, you can only fit a certain number on the court. This is because the actual size of the playing court can permit so many individuals at a time for seamless gameplay. In esports, it’s a very different scene, where new games can be played with variances, dynamics, and players that are infinitely scalable.
In fact, these factors get compounded when a new update is added to, or a new installment of a game is released. The game players are competing in gets more complex, and each player has to learn new multiplayer maps creating a learning curve resulting in changed strategies and evolved game dynamics.
Trends on esport platforms
The top watched game Twitch, the leading game streaming site, is League of Legends. Other popular games include sports-related games like FIFA, Madden, but the genres that really draw the crowds are multiplayer online battle arenas, real-time strategy, and first-person shooter games.
In fact, many of these tournaments have become so popular that they areonline betting operators have even included these games in their betting roster. Interested individuals can bet on their favorite matches, players in games like DOTA 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
So, with so many positive factors, thisindustry enjoystremendous growth annually in terms of revenue andviewership. It is not just the viewers contributing to the overall revenue, but the brands that are investing in the marketing seeing the potential eSports marketing has in reaching out to consumers,indirectly anddirectly. It is even one of those industries that haven’t been limited by COVID restrictions as tournaments can be viewed online too.
Growth really began in 2016, where enthusiasts and occasional viewers contributed to a jump in the numbers by 12.3% by 2019. In 2019, there was an audience of 443 million comprising 198 million enthusiasts and 245 million casual viewers. In 2020, there was a drop of 11.7% owing to the pandemic and accounted for 496 million viewers. Newzoo predicts that by 2023 the annual growth rate will be 10.4% of about 646 millionviewers. They also released statistics about growth in theEuropeaneSportsaudience by about 92 million in 2020.
You can see that growth doesn’t include only thededicated fans, but the people who occasionally tune in to watch a game match. Online platforms frequented by fans, like YouTube and Twitch have even observed a growth in the number of their users.
Newzoo had made all of the predictions before the pandemic took place. They recognize that the whole eSports audience hasn’t decreased and there is no limit to the demand for esports tournaments or E-SPORTS PLATFORM, and organizers haven’t slowed down either so there are no supply limitations either.
Increase in esports awareness
This year, many of the scheduled eSports events had to be canceled or replanned for distribution on online platforms. This is owing to the pandemic, and it hasn’t impacted future growth but slowed down the industry activity and viewership ratings. The growth that the industry did rake in prior to that, was due to the awareness of the events. In 2015, there were about 800,000 people who knew about eSports and in the following year, there were over a billion people familiar with this term!!
Statista doesn’t have the number recorded, but Newzoo’s report shows a growth of 1.8 billion in 2019 and they expected it to be 2.0 billion in 2020, and that 530.4 million out of this number will be Chinese. Brands are eager for this increase in viewership, whatever the end number will eventually be. It is only indicative of their revenues they can earn out of these events. It also means that they have new channels for targeting their marketing mixes so that they can reach even more people in the esports industry.