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eSports Industry on the Verge of the Surreal

The world of eSports is a vast universe which provides opportunities for people of all ages and corners of the world. It unites them in teams with a clearly defined goal, it places them on the pursuit of the coveted win, and it gives them the chance of expressing themselves and standing out in the crowd. The universes of games used to exist in the realm of the Internet only and they had quite an underground marginal nature, with people devoting hours and hours on end on leveling up and reaching the next checkpoint, but this is no longer the case. Nowadays eSports has evolved into a profitable industry on the verge of reality and virtuality.

What is appealing to the people participating in the vast world of online games and eSports is the interaction they get to have once they set foot in it. People from all around the world have the chance to work as a team and unite in order to reach the ultimate final point and realize the objective of the game. They have to come up with strategies in order to defeat the enemy’s team and prove that they are worthy of the winner’s status. They also meet like-minded people who just like them are striving to find their place in this colorful world and this is their way of expressing their true nature in the most effective way.

The Dawn of Electronic Sports

It all started back in the late nineties when the term “electronic sports” was first coined. It was first used in a press release regarding the launch of the Online Gamers Association in 1999, in which electronic sports were compared to traditional sports. The very beginning of online electronic sports which involved organized teams which competed among themselves happened around the release of networked first-person shooting games. The first one was the 1993 title Doom which was followed by the 1996 Quake, both taking the industry by storm with their innovative and never-before seen first-person realistic gameplay.

Teams of online players which called themselves clans were competing in online tournaments and by 1997 there were already formed professional and semi-professional online gaming leagues. This is when the first version of Counter-Strike entered the stage and changed the way people perceive eSports. The series was released in 1999 as a modification for Half-Life before it was acquired by Valve Corporation. The popularity of this specific type of competitive gaming can be reasoned with the team work which is involved in it and this is why Counter-Strike has since then remained the central element in western eSports events streamed globally.

Opportunities for Profit

According to estimations regarding the interest towards eSports, there are about 27 million users which enter the League of Legends world every single day. This is a golden opportunity for advertisers to promote their products in a subtle and not-that-subtle way to an enormous number of people located around the world. This advertising opportunity can add up to more than a hundred million daily ad hours, which can make the revenue of the companies advertised skyrocket in no time. In the meantime, this can prove to be of mutual benefit for both the companies and the players themselves, since there is now the streaming option.

Many eSports have their own channels on one or many of the live-stream platforms which gives them a voice in this industry and they can choose how to utilize the space they have been given on the platform. About 100 million users engage in one of the streaming platforms at least once a week, where the players get to stream whatever they want to their audience. Some gamers log more than 90 hours of live-streamed gameplay in a single month, which is an amazing opportunity to hundreds of advertisers to promote their products.

eSports Betting is for Everyone

The vast eSports market also provides numerous betting opportunities which can benefit both the gaming enthusiasts and betting brands known for their high level of professionalism and fair style of work. Some of the leading betting names such as SkyBet, BetCart, BetVictor, BetFred, 188Bet, and Pinnacle have entered the eSports betting market and are already reaping the fruits of their gaming labor. Thousands of eSports spectators and players put their wager on the outcome of a certain end result or on which team is going to win the match.

The biggest revenue comes from the region of East Asia, followed closely by North America. As for the general outline of the players participating in the sector, contrary to the wide-spread belief that only teenagers have spare time for games, the biggest percentage of them are in the 21-35-year-old range, followed closely by the 36-65-year-old one. However, one thing is for sure – the gamer girl is not a myth, but there are still more male gamers in the world of eSports.

The Social Side of the Industry

Engagement in the social media platforms has never been this intense and wide-spread. The beginning of this year saw several milestones in the eSports world, since Facebook got the exclusive rights to Blizzard’s “Heroes of the Dorm” tournament, while YouTube acquired the exclusive English rights to ESL’s Counter-Strike Pro League. In March Twitter partnered with ESL and Dreamhack in order to provide more than 1,500 hours of live stream of eSports events. These partnerships are aimed to keep the viewers engaged on all social platforms they are using and offer them plenty of options to choose from when it comes to streamable content.

Back in 2015, the industry of eSports was estimated to reach a yearly revenue of $747,51 million, a figure which is expected to double by the end of 2017 – in the next couple of months, the sector will witness a $1,544 million in revenue. According to future estimations in 2018 the global eSports industry is going to reach 1,928.82 million. Staples Center in Los Angeles was the proud host of last year’s League of Legends World Championship which recorded over 27 million viewers via the live streaming platforms.

This amount comes close to the NCAA Championship’s 2016 edition, which attracted about 28 million broadcast viewers. The comparison is not a coincidence since it shows that the Internet is now a powerful media which is comparable to and should be taken into account by traditional media outlets such as television, newspapers, and radio.

What the Future Holds

The future of eSports as a profitable industry is more promising than ever, especially since game developer Blizzard recently announced that there is going to be a brand new eSports arena constructed in Los Angeles. It is going to be designed in a way that will most suit the high-level eSports events, with thousands of people gathering to see their favorite teams perform their best and win. Blizzard Arena Los Angeles will be located within the Burbank Studios and it is going to host major events throughout the whole year. In the plans for the new premium venue there are front-facing play areas with spectator seating, and back-end support rooms with top-notch technology, as well as practice areas where the teams can work on their winning strategies.

Up to this day such big events have been hosted in venues with more general purpose, such as stadiums and arenas designed with another purpose in mind. This will no longer be the case, since on 7th October the gaming arena is set to officially launch and the first big event it is going to host will be Overwatch Contenders Season One playoffs. This tournament will be closely followed by the Hearthstone Championship Tour’s Supper Championship, starting on 13th October.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.