In years gone by, video games were just that really. This was great for casual players who loved nothing more than thrashing their friends on FIFA or John Madden after a hard day at school or work. However, recent times have seen video gaming give rise to a whole new sport – eSports.
This rapidly growing online sport sees teams of professional players compete in games such as Call of Duty to see which team is the best. From fairly humble origins, eSports now brings fans together both online and at big real-world events to enjoy the fun.
What has got many people very excited about eSports is the growth that it has seen in a relatively short time period. The revenue generated by the industry in 2017 was an impressive $655m annually. 2018 saw a 32% jump to $865m, with the forecasted revenue for 2019 being $1bn. This shows not only how much eSports has taken off recently but also what large numbers are involved in the sector.
Can eSports increase its value in the future?
The big question for many onlookers is whether eSports will see its value rise further into the future. Many believe that this will happen and that by 2022, the sector will be worth $1.5bn each year. What will be behind this continuing increase in value?
eSports is set to grow even further in the future
- Tie-in with sports gambling – as with other sports, many people now bet on eSports to make money. Counter Strike: Global Offensive is one of the most popular games to wager on – and CSGO betting sites are becoming an industry frontrunner. Many expect this tie-in with online gambling to bring more money into eSports and also help it win new fans from online gambling sites who will spend money on the sport itself. As with soccer and other sports, online gambling firms may also invest money into the industry to help market their own services.
- Greater investment by other brands – as well as online gambling sites, many believe that eSports’ value will grow once more from investment by other brands into it. Estimates show that 82% of the money in the industry is from external brands. As the sector gains more global fans, more brands will want to access them and be happy to pay eSports bosses for the privilege. As brands look for increasingly diverse investment options, video games have meanwhile continued to grow beyond a simple pastime – and eSports could well be the answer.
- Further growth of global audience – one thing that makes this sport so massive is how truly global it is. Fans can watch online via platforms such as Twitch from anywhere in the world that has internet access. Events also happen across the globe now for people to attend in person if they wish. Many estimate that the global audience for eSports in 2019 will be almost 460 million! This is expected to grow to 645 million by 2022 – all these new fans will mean more money coming into the industry to increase its value.
- More serious fans – as well as the global audience generally growing, many believe that dedicated “eSports enthusiasts” will also become more common. These are the hardcore fans who will spend more, more often on tickets and their favorite teams’ merchandise. In 2019, they have been pegged at 201 million in total, but by 2022, this is expected to leap to just under 300 million. This extra army of hardcore fans will see more money spent on eSports and more money coming into the industry to increase its value.
- Greater levels of media exposure – a big factor that could see the value of eSports increase again is the greater level of media coverage that it is likely to receive. Already, the sport gets more attention from websites and traditional media than it did even a few years ago. This extra coverage will not only make it more widely known to draw people in but also help to convince brands that it is a viable sector in which to invest.
As the above shows, it does seem highly likely that this new sport is set to see an increase in value in the future. Previous trends show a steady upward climb in revenue over time, and there is no reason to feel that this will end soon. Indeed, as eSports becomes more widely known and popular, it is actually more likely to carry on the upward trend in terms of revenue and audience figures. If you have not yet discovered the delights of this fabulous new sport, then maybe it is time you should.