we’re extremely excited to take a look at an industry that not many people care to acknowledge but one that’s been rising constantly over the years and deserves our attention we are talking about the eSports industry what started as a bunch of high school kids playing video games together in a room turned into a worldwide phenomenon with sold-out stadiums millions of fans and a market size that is expected to reach 1.5 billion dollars by 2020 today the eSports industry along with all its segments could have the potential to completely change the way. we consume content as a whole but we’ll talk about the eSports scene is a perfect example of how the merger between technological progress cultural environment and traditional entertainment can open the door for a
completely new and full-blown industry and with all that said here are the 15 things you didn’t know about the eSports industry.
- E-Sports was a thing before consumer-grade internet even existed the Internet as we know it took shape in the late 80s when the first Internet service provider or IPs began to emerge but people are playing competitive video games as early as the 70s one of the first video game competitions took place at Stanford University in 1972 for the game space water the final prize being a one-year subscription to the Rolling Stone magazine it was clearly a hobby back then with little to no money involved but that was about to change dramatically.
- South Korea played a huge role in the development of the industry South Korea is viewed by many as the mecca of eSports with the rise of Internet connectivity came to a whole new world of opportunities and things to do for leisure with online gaming being the focal point and nobody embraced the new trend harder than South Koreans land gaming centres or PC banks as they call them started to pop up all over the country with most of them providing their customers with food and drinks and later on even places to take a nap competitive gaming became such a popular and respected activity that the Korean Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism actually founded a new department called the Korean eSports Association in order to promote and regulate the new industry to put things into perspective being a pro gamer in Korea is like being an NFL player in the u.s.
- There are still major visa issues for eSports players even though eSports is a big industry it’s still in its early years and general rules and regulations are just starting to solidify however it’s still not uncommon for players to be kicked out in the middle of a tournament even being barred from entering a country altogether due to visa issues or local authorities not recognizing professional eSports players as worthy of receiving a travelling visa things are starting to slowly pick up so an example being the p1a visas which are issued to internationally recognized athletes for which professional gamers can now apply even with the hardships the industry is facing its ability to force the system to change its rules his damn impressive.
- In 2014 an eSports event sold out the same stadium that the 2002 FIFA World Cup took place in it may come as a surprise but major eSports events have been selling out stadiums for years every eSports game has its own league in tournaments and the major ones culminate in a world championship that happens every year where the best eSport teams compete for millions of dollars in 2014 the World Championship for riots League of Legends took place in Seoul’s second-largest arena which once hosted the 2002 FIFA world cup a total of 45,000 fans attended the event along with another 11 million viewers watching it live online if you think that’s impressive in 2017 the world championship finals took place in Beijing National Stadium the same one that hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics a total of 91 thousand tickets were sold out in a matter of seconds with an online viewership peaking at one hundred and six-point two 1 million people to put things into perspective in the same year the Superbowl final had an attendance of 70,000 while the UEFA championship league file had 66,000.
5.The Dota 2 international 2017 had a total prize pool close to 25
million dollars in the early years of eSports even six-figure prize pools for major tournaments were unheard of there weren’t many people throwing money at gaming events let alone big sponsors to
boost prize pools, however, valve the company that made the game Dota 2 came up with a very interesting strategy to make up for the
lack of funding they created a series of in-game purchases for players to buy and a good portion of the money went straight to the prize pool for their upcoming World Finals called the International fans of the game certainly didn’t shy away and a total of 24 million eight hundred thousand dollars was raised was close to 11 million dollars going to the winning team that means that each one of the five players won around two million dollars considering that Roger Federer got paid 2.9 million dollars for winning Wimbledon one could say that eSports careers are no longer something to laugh about.
6.Manchester United got into a bidding war over an eSports team got into a bidding war against Fnatic one of the biggest eSports organizations over an overwatch team overwatch is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment back in 2016 not long after the game was released the UK Football Club started scouting for teams to break into the East for scene after finding the right candidates they quickly got counter-offered by Fnatic which was doing the same thing this isn’t the first time a traditional sports organization tried to enter the eSports world either former NBA superstar Rick Fox started his own eSports organization back in 2015 and is now an active member in the online gaming community.
7. TheeSports scene faced a huge gambling scandal where there’s competition there’s also gambling but eSports open the door for a whole new way of betting away your money in the popular first-person shooter csgo you can get in-game skins that can change the appearance of your weapons in order to let players customize their experience these are available within the game’s own shop where you can pay to open a box that contains a random skin and they also drop as you play the game players could also trade the skins between each other for money and the rarer the skin the more people were willing to pay furthermore third-party websites started to appear where you could bet your skins and eSports matches with a chance of getting more valuable ones in return however the market got so big and out of control that according to Bloomberg Businessweek in 2015 there were around 2.3 billion dollars worth of skins being traded and gambled around it didn’t take long before people started to exploit this unregulated market by creating their own gambling websites and promoting them under false claims to underage kids people actually got rich from trading pixels it got so bad at the time that the Federal Trade Commission had to intervene and regulate the market.
8. Cheating is a problem in the online gaming competitions imagine you’re an average football player but you have a special pair of shoes that make you run faster and every time you hit the ball you score that’s actually a thing in online gaming especially in first-person shooter games where you can activate cheats that let you see through walls and your bullets always hit no matter how unimpressive your accuracy is Gaiman developers and eSports organizations are in a constant battle against hackers and people who make cheat codes there’s no real way to stop cheaters besides holding offline tournaments but even then people always find a way to import cheats using USB sticks hacks got so advanced they are almost impossible to notice with the naked eye and hackers had to practice using them in order to make it look natural of course getting caught results in an instant ban but it’s still a problem to give you an idea of how big the issue is Dell advertised a new laptop in China by claiming it was great for cheating talk about scummy Marketing Strategies.
9. E-Sports is changing the way we consume content let’s say you’re watching LeBron James playing basketball live and you ask him in a chatroom how to practice a 3-point shoot and he responds right there at that moment that’s how eSports is changing the game live streaming and real-time feedback is the new media and the online gaming industry is an early adopter with the rising popularity of Twitch and other live streaming platforms the attention is quickly shifting towards this new way of consuming content more than 100 million people tuned in on Twitch every month to watch their favourite players and the categories are constantly expanding with talk shows podcasts and other live shows it’s no wonder Amazon acquired twitch for almost 1 billion dollars back in 2014.
10. E-Sports is growing at a staggering rate with near billion-dollar revenues in 2018 according to news ooh which is a global market intelligence organization eSports is predicted to hit a nine hundred five million dollar market share in 2018 which is a thirty-eight percent increase from the previous year given the nature of the market and its early-stage development the revenue streams are a bit unstable sponsorships are still the main force that brings money in with other sources starting to slowly pick up even though the growth of eSports is hard to ignore not everyone is willing to dive in and surprisingly Nintendo is one of them you would think the gaming giant would have been the first one to make the switch to the industry but they shine away until recently however with the release of their new console they seem ready to tap into the competitive online gaming scene we have covered Nintendo in detail in our dedicated video which you can check out by clicking in the top right corner.
11. Gaming publishers and eSports organizations started to make changes to better accommodate the industry one of the biggest problems that are slowing the growth of the eSports industry down is the lack of consistent revenue streams like we mentioned earlier the biggest revenue bulk comes from sponsorships but changes had to be made in order to bring more eyeballs and wallets to the market besides the gaming publishers who are constantly working to make their games easier to watch with the introduction of spectator mode replays private lobbies and so on competitive gaming organizations are also trying to make the scene more suitable for advertisers recently Riot Games decided to turn their League of Legends Championship Series or LCS into a franchise League requiring 13.2 million dollars for new teams to join according to Riot the franchising structure is a recognizable format for sponsors advertisers and their agencies the main goal is to make the competitive gaming scene more similar to traditional sporting events in terms of structure which in turn will hopefully encourage advertisers and other media outlets to start investing.
12. Universities from all around the world started to offer esports scholarships the only thing more satisfying than noobs and online games are having that delightful activity pay for your education according to Forbes eSports maybe the next new college football since 2013 some universities started to recognize professional gamers as varsity level athletes who were eligible for scholarships recently Ohio’s Ashland University announced they would be offering scholarships of up to $4,000 for the best fortnight players this is a big deal because fortnight along with another gay from the Battle Royale genre isn’t exactly eSports ready but they still made the cut at the moment in North America alone there are around 50 programs that offer varsity scholarships for their eSports athletes with new universities joining the movement every Year.
13.E-Sports is being discussed for the 2024 Olympics we bet you didn’t see this one coming this should be a clear indication on how big this industry really is and how much potential it can have understandably both the general public and the International Olympic Committee are still on the fence regarding the topic Thomas Bach the president of the committee said quote we are not yet 100% clear whether eSports is really a sport however everyone recognizes that the interaction between the Olympics and eSports can be beneficial for both sides and this is actually not without precedent in April 2017 the Olympic Council of Asia or OCA announced they would be featuring eSports in the 2020 Asian Games in partnership with all esports which is the sports focused arm of the Alibaba Group if you want to learn some more about the founder of Alibaba who also happens to be one of the richest men in the world.
14. As we touched on in the last point there is a debate on whether eSports should be considered a real sport there are a lot of people from all walks of life who are arguing that eSports should not be viewed as a traditional sport because it doesn’t involve physical exertion or coordination if you don’t break a sweat. I don’t consider it a sport or if you don’t have a six-pack you’re not an athlete are some of the phrases are commonly thrown around when the topic is discussed people even question if eSports can truly be a spectator sport even though more people are already watching eSports than any other traditional sport out there the real question is who cares eSports is here to stay whether people agree with it or not.
15. E-sports is changing the gaming stigma how many times have you heard the media pushing the idea that video games make you violent or that if you have a controller in your hands on a Saturday night that means you’re an overweight male with no social skills the idea of playing video games is still met with negativity and it’s considered by many a waste of time doing something unproductive however eSports is managing to break the narrative and place a whole new light on the gaming industry and it’s not just For the youth in 2017 the University of Montreal conducted a study which suggested that playing 3d platform video games on a regular basis may improve cognitive functions and seniors and increase grey matter in the brain may be playing video games now and then isn’t so bad after all and that’s it for.