The Growing Competitive Gaming Industry

Michael Garcia 08/08/18


Years ago, competitive fighting games were only played in basements of someone’s house or in arcades. Now, there are stadiums filled with thousands of fans of competitive video games while thousands more watch from home.


One example is the Overwatch League Grand Finals at Barclays Stadium last month which gained about 20,000 people attending and the stream peaking at around 300,000.


In contrast, last weekend at EVO 2018 in Las Vegas, the Superbowl for competitive fighting games gathered about 10,000 people and a peak stream of 250,000 viewers.


This phenomenon has only happened because of the competitive video game’s dedicated community to keep their respective games alive. With local scenes getting new releases of their games, tournaments are easier to be held by buying consoles and tvs to stay at venues for people to use every week. This then translates to accessibility for newer players, allowing for games to become more popular.


Eventually, popularity to play competitively became mainstream for video game fanatics who want to show their skill to rest of the world. This then lead to media giants such as ESPN and Disney to broadcast eSports (Electronic Sports) tournaments. Not only that, but in 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch, the live streaming platform that continues to be the leader in online gaming broadcasts. YouTube has also jumped into the competitive video gaming community with the creation of YouTube Gaming.


With the introduction of media giants, the growth of a profitable market has surged as of recent. Companies such as Geico, Microsoft, Red Bull, Intel, Coca-Cola, and more have invested in sponsoring players and teams to capitalize on the growing industry. They fly out people to all over the world to compete, along with adding money into prize pools that are already huge for whoever wins it all.

Every sport in history has been built with media companies together and these type of corporations to accelerate their growth. The same thing goes with these global and local partnerships with media and tech companies in eSports.

It’s understandable why traditional media companies would want to capitalize on this trend before it becomes the mainstream. Approximately 300 million people worldwide tune in to eSport tournaments today, and that number is growing rapidly. By 2020, that number will be closer to 500 million, according to Business Insider. Eventually, eSports is expected to accelerate to a $3.5 billion industry by 2021, according to a report from Juniper Research.

Most of this success is owed to game developers who recognize how effective competitive gaming is to profit their brand. They release patches to balance characters so the game is more fair, along with helping fund for tournaments with the money made from selling the game. It increases player engagement, lengthens the longevity of titles, expands franchise awareness, and accumulates growth of monetization for their game as a whole.


The next couple of years will be crucial to ow fast competitive gaming grows into a multi billion dollar business. The key factors of leagues franchising from competition are the utilization of content right sales, merchandise, team/player profitability, and the impact the game has on an amount of people.


As the growth and success of eSports leagues continue to rise, the production of tournaments requires thorough planning and precise detailing. Understanding conceptualizing as well as developing a business relationships with bigger corporations are only just the standard requirements for the eSports industry to grow.


Understanding the culture of video gaming can also have a heavy influence on the success of tournaments. With thousands of attendees and millions of viewers, bigger tournaments have thousands of dollars in prize money on the line. Investors and hosts of such events treat players as they do with traditional sports players, and use similar broadcasting tools, such as livestream broadcasting and commentating.


What started as friends gathering in each other’s homes or arcades has become an upcoming collection of pro gaming tournaments and leagues with legitimate teams and prizes for people to aspire to obtain.


So what will the future of eSports look like? How far can it go? Could it reach the mainstream like traditional sports? Whatever the future holds, eSports is on the brink of becoming a billion-dollar industry and continues to grow exponentially and it will stay like that as long as companies keep investing.


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