Video games… who doesn't know ‘em? People used to play video games to fill their spare time or combat their boredom, but now it’s so much more.
With various platforms such as consoles, PCs, laptops, and cellphones, video games have entered the realm of various ages and thousands of games produced annually, which makes the “video game” an endless consumption like any other technology.
In the past, video game players were usually considered children. But over time, the development of games has gotten much more sophisticated, paving the way for adults to enjoy them as well.
The assumption pinned to gaming addicts as “lazy people” is now being questioned, especially when these games have become a source of entertainment that can make a lot of money. Games are not only played to fill spare time but can now become a promising profession if seriously pursued.
The existence of multiple gaming YouTube channels is just one example of how video games are more popular today than they ever were before. We’ve even seen video game tournaments this past decade, with games including Data 2, Warzone, Fortnite, and more.
What is Esports?
Esports stands for Electronic Sports. Even though it still sounds awkward, Esports is a sport on the rise and has a fan base that is growing at an exponential rate. At the final of The International for Dota 2 championships, the competition was watched by 20 million people. Moreover, 27 million people watched the League of Legends (LoL) championships.
Also, the prizes up for grabs are no less impressive, such as The International for Dota 2, which gave 2.8 million US Dollars to the winning teams. Esports as a sport, however, is still debated in various circles. Considering that Esports has athletes, spectators, sponsors, and many contested Esports games, it’s really no longer a question of “if” eSports is a sport, but “when” it will be fully recognized as one.
A little history of Esports
The first video game championships were hosted by Atari in the 1980s. Over 10,000 people participated from all parts of the United States. Thanks to better technology, the World Championships organized by Nintendo in 1990 were possible, and even held online. Games like Street Fighter and Doom changed the whole perspective on video games because they allowed more interactions between players, even from a distance.
This industry was niche back then but has continued to develop over the years. Today, moreover, with the emergence of streaming platforms and the increasing opportunities for young people to enter the video game industry, it continues to grow at an exponential rate.
Why is Esports growing so fast?
For the past ten years or so, the economic Esports market has continued to develop as the enthusiasm of spectators, players, and companies for the phenomenon has increased.
Each year, hundreds of Esports tournaments take place around the world, particularly in the United States and Asia. These attract larger and larger audiences. According to a study on the Esports market carried out by Newzoo, a website specializing in the field, the number of Esport spectators was 200 million in 2017, about 20% more than the previous year. Moreover, audiences for eSports continues to grow, with almost 500 million spectators in the space at the end of 2021.
As a result of this growing audience, companies are increasingly looking at this phenomenon. In particular, it has the advantage of being attractive to younger audiences (18-24). With traditional markets like television advertising not reaching this younger generation, eSports has emerged as a new medium for advertising to this audience.
- Advertising and sponsorship as primary sources of income
The Esports market was estimated at $700 million in 2017 and is expected to reach an estimated size of between $1.5 and $2 billion in 2021 (a 50% increase from last year); moreover, 60% of the global eSports market comes from advertising and sponsorships within the space.
While it is easily possible to imagine the support of brands endemic to the video game and electronics sectors, such as Intel, Asus, Alienware, or Micromania, there are non-industry companies that sponsor teams of professional players. This interest is global and concerns more and more brands, including Coca-Cola and Adidas, which partially explains the increase in the size of the market.
2. Growing revenues thanks to derivative products, access tickets, and media rights
Other income is added to that of the sponsors. In addition to products derived from professional teams (t-shirts, computer accessories, etc.), tickets or access rights to attend the championships live or by streaming represent the income of $63 million. Amazon, for example, bought the video game streaming service Twitch for $1 billion in 2014, while Facebook recently announced that it was launching its own Esports streaming service.
The revenues from media rights are also significant in size and enjoy very strong growth ($95 million), while the rights paid to software developers achieve revenue of $115 million, with a growth of 18%.
3. Sports betting, the “blue ocean” of Esports
Another source of income considered a "blue ocean" by entrepreneurs concerns sports betting. Indeed, Esports could prove to be a considerable market for them, as reported by the CNBC site.
4. Esports attracts a growing number of investors
Last year, $100 million was distributed to the winners of various competitions in the eSports industry, a figure that continues to increase year after year. In fact, actor Will Smith just participated in a $46 million round of funding the Gen.G structure, which includes teams for PUBG, Fortnite, Overwatch, and League of Legends.
A few months earlier, the ex-basketball player Magic Johnson joined the capital of the aXiomatic group, which holds the 3rd most important team: Team Liquid. Composed of 65 players, it is valued at 200 million dollars according to Forbes. On the football side, FC Barcelona, Olympique Lyonnais, Manchester United, and PSG have also launched their own virtual sports team.
While some rely on teams, others invest in improving training conditions. The Chinese giant Tencent is expected to bet $13 billion on Esports over the next few years to create stadiums and training grounds. The company has already published successful games including the ubiquitous League of Legends through its subsidiary Riot Games, while also being the proud owner of WeChat messaging, a mobile application with more than a billion users worldwide.
Why is eSports a promising sector?
The Esports market (which accounts for advertising revenue, the sale of tickets and related products, broadcasting rights, and video game licenses) should grow by 18% per year to reach 38 million Euros in 2022. According to NewZoo, a research institute specializing in video games, Esports should also continue to grow in the years to come with a global market that could reach 10 billion dollars in 2030. Many brands are interested in this new medium, which allows them to target consumer profiles who have gradually abandoned traditional media.
Very recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of Esports and boosted its audiences. Twitch recorded 1.1 billion hours of viewing in March 2020. It must be said that even the greatest sportsmen attended the spectacle: tennis players Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Lucas Pouille faced each other on console after the cancellation of the Masters 1000 in Madrid. This strategy was also adopted by Formula 1 which announced at the end of March 2020 the launch of an official Esports championship with F1 drivers.
Frequently Contested Esports Type Games
Any game can be considered an “eSport”; however, because Esports already has a large ecosystem and industry, there have emerged different styles of games that can be contested in the eSports arena.
The Esports type games that are often contested are as follows:
1. Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
Nowadays, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, or what is familiarly called MOBA, is a type of game that is currently very popular. The involvement of multiple players in the game has made MOBAs more attractive among young people, especially since the emergence of a mobile game called Mobile Legends.
MOBA is also a type of Esports that is often contested and often breaks records in terms of the number of viewers and prizes received. The MOBA games include Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, Mobile Legends, etc.
2. First-Person Shooter (FPS)
First-Person Shooter, or familiarly called FPS, is a type of game that is booming today. This game is like a shooting simulation that puts the player in the perspective of the character being played. By only displaying the weapon's muzzle or the head, it is as if FPS makes the player a character in the game.
Some of the most common types of Esports from FPS include Doom, Quake, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Unreal Tournament, Halo, Painkiller, Battlefield, CrossFire, OverWatch, etc.
3. Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
Real-Time Strategy or RTS is a type of Esports that is often contested which relies more on strategy in the long term. In this type of game, combat does not occur directly, but players are directed to build their strength first. Clash of Clans is an example of an RTS game on Smartphone devices.
The games included in the Real-Time Strategy are Star Craft: Brood War, Warcraft, Civilization, Stronghold Crusader, etc.
4. Sports Games
Sports Games are a type of game from sports that exist globally, be it sports that are done individually or in groups. Various Esports types are often contested in Sports Games, which are sports simulations, such as football, martial arts, tennis, archery, bowling, archery, fishing, etc.
The Esports in this genre includes World Cyber Game, Electronic Sports League, etc.
Racing games usually only show the steering wheel that is being held by the characters in the game. This face display is reminiscent of FPS, where players seem to be directly involved in game situations.
Racing games that are commonly contested in Esports include Track Mania, iRacing, Project Cars, etc.
6. Fighting Games
Fighting Games are well known as they were originally manufactured to be played on machine arcade devices. By using analogs like a miniature gear car, players can move their heroes in arcade machines more freely. Moreover, some skills do require rotating analog 90 to 180 degrees.
The fighting games include Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, Tekken, Super Smash Bros, etc.
It looks like eSports is here to stay, with an exponentially growing market and an even higher audience growth rate, it’s a no brainer that investors, sponsors, and companies alike are pining to get into this new industry. So you’re probably wondering: “Okay, you’ve sold me… How can I get involved?” To which I say: “Join our discord”. You’ll learn everything you need to know about eSports, and you can even participate in tournaments, giveaways, and contests for cash prizes. So what are you waiting for?