The concept of Esports was a pipe dream a decade or so ago. Today, it’s quickly turning into one of the most lucrative industries in the world. Valued at more than £1 billion according to the likes of Business Insider, it has the potential to challenge the traditional giants and take them on at their own game. It’s no wonder classic sports are nervously glancing over their shoulders.
The great thing about the sector is that it has room for growth, with an even bigger valuation expected by 2023. With no signs of the market slowing, it’s time to ask why Esports are so popular?
The Rise of Spectator Esports
It’s not only people actively playing that boost the industry’s numbers – it’s the spectators that gladly watch from the sidelines as professionals compete against one another. While it may seem counterproductive, the truth is that there are levels to player’s skills because some pros can do things normal users can only dream of.
Also, the improvement of gaming infrastructure means that there are tons of platforms for audiences to watch the latest action, making the sector incredibly accessible. Factor in the role of YouTube and Twitch – TechCrunch says both brands have daily users in the millions – and it’s not hard to see why Esports have skyrocketed in popularity and value in a short time frame.
Esports share similarities with regular sports. One of the best examples of this is the Formula One gaming championship, because it attracts the attention of real-life drivers such as Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Lando Norris. However, this isn’t the only area in which the two sectors overlap.
Esports are profitable for bookmakers and betting companies, which means new markets have been created to appeal to people who like to add excitement to the experience. Thanks to the crossover between sportsbooks and online casino games, there is now a customer base that enjoys placing a wager during live events – which is something that platforms such as Comeon casino leverage with expertise. It’s not much different from sports betting habits, which probably explains why the markets are so profitable.
When you look at the industry, you will instantly notice that traditional titles and releases don’t dominate. Instead, free-to-play games are at the top of the market and don’t appear to be going anywhere soon. For example, the biggest tournaments center around the likes of Leagues of Legends or Counter-Strike.
The reason for this is that they are much easier to develop because there isn’t the same concern regarding costs and return on investment. That’s why free-to-play titles are the fastest-growing category in gaming in the past 15 years. For Esports, this means that there is a fresh influx of releases to cash in on through a variety of channels every year.
Mobile trends have evolved dramatically in recent years, leading most gamers to prefer to play via their smartphones and tablets rather than on a console. Today, there are around 2.7 billion gamers on the planet, the majority of which are mobile users.
The fact that Esports are mobile-friendly, unlike console games, showcases why the sector’s expansion hasn’t been coincidental. Thanks to the platforms they use, Esports are widely accessible across the board, since devices and internet connections are ten a penny.
All the above is why Esports are worth a projected £1 billion+ in 2021, and why the valuation is expected to continue to rise for the next decade.