Once upon a time, they said video games would never make you rich. Today, you could enter the world of eSports to show them that they couldn't have been more wrong. The gaming industry is a huge one.
The eSports industry is not necessarily new, but over the past decade, it has grown exponentially. It is valued at over $1 billion and is expected to continue growing until at least 2026. If you want to know more about the competitive gaming industry or are not familiar with the concept, here are the first things you need to know!
What is the eSports Industry?
eSports are organized electronic gaming competitions involving teams or individual players fighting each other for victory. They connect via the internet or a LAN (Local Area Network).
The term "eSports" means "electronic sports", which is quite controversial. Many people do not accept the characterization of a virtual game as a sport. After all, gamers are sitting in a chair commanding what happens on the screen through the keyboard, mouse, and joystick.
Meanwhile, in traditional sports, athletes move their bodies actively to reach the proposed goals. On the other hand, it is a fact that anyone who wants to become a professional e-athlete needs a lot of training, discipline, and dedication, just like anyone who wants to practice a sport at a high level.
In eSports, the mind is used more than the body, yes. But that doesn't mean you don't need to take care of it. On the contrary, professional electronic sports teams include physical training in the preparation of their athletes. The truth is, the debate isn't all that important. Like it or not, eSports from Dota 2 to CS:GO represent a booming market.
The Goldman Sachs group projects revenue of nearly $3 billion in the games industry by 2022. They're predicting that e-sports will reach an audience similar to what the NFL (national football league) has today!
We can immediately link these numbers to countless opportunities for traditional sports brands.
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The Emergence of eSports
eSports are a topic that haven’t been talked about for long. However, the number of competitions and public interest has grown a lot in recent years, but game disputes have been around for a long time.
The first known organized competition dates back to 1972. That was when Stanford University organized the Spacewar Intergalactic Olympiad, a space combat game developed for the PDP-1 computer.
In 1980, Atari, the manufacturer that popularized the video game, promoted a Space Invaders championship (its most popular game), which brought together approximately 10,000 participants. But it was from the 2000s that the thing started to take on another dimension.
The graphics of games were getting better and better, but the real revolution was the spread of broadband worldwide. In South Korea, since the beginning of the millennium, eSports are officially considered competitive modalities.
Today, it is precisely in Asia that the largest gamer market on the planet is located, with emphasis on China and Japan. The Chinese, by the way, invested $ 1 billion in a complex destined for the practice of electronic sports in the city of Hangzhou.
In the last ten years, the growth has been exponential, and the professional teams, who pay their athletes to represent them in competitions, have multiplied.
How do eSports Work?
As there are different types of games, there are also different eSports competitions, each with its rules, rules and particularities. After all, the logic of each game is different.
All of this contributes to the enjoyment of practitioners and heats up the market, and opens up new business and investment possibilities.
The main types of games played in competitions are real-time strategy, shooting, and simulation of "real" sports such as football. Any person, group of people, or organization (association or company) can create an eSports competition.
This is in addition to rules approved by the game's manufacturer, a Facebook page, and an online page for player registration. On the other hand, the professional competition must meet all these requirements as well, with the difference that it must have a publicly-held company, its studio, and space for events – its own or a sponsor’s.
Another difference is that the professional championship has a longer duration and ends in a face-to-face event. Regardless of the competition ranking, the fact is that the bigger the prize and structure offered, the more teams it will attract and the more interest it will generate.
As for the professional teams, those who pay their members to represent them in competitions don't live only from awards but mainly from marketing.
They can generate revenue through sponsorship, advertising (exploring the visibility of advertising channels), and selling personalized products. For example, even professional football clubs keep eSports teams practicing the same sport in the video game.
Some are not limited to football games but also participate in League of Legends competitions and other games. Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain (PSG), Wolfsburg, and the Brazilian Santos are examples.
What are the Main Games in the eSports Industry?
In some of the professionally played games, matches are played by just two players, so competitions take place in knockout stages. In others, two teams, composed of several members, are confronted.
If the game has the dynamics that allow for an exciting competition between two or more sides, that's what matters. What will define which are the most important sports in the world is just the public's interest.
Next, we'll talk a little about the main types of games played in the eSports world.
MOBA (Dota and League of Legends)
“MOBA” is an acronym that stands for "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena". It's a game type, not a specific game. Its dynamic consists of the confrontation between two teams, each of which destroys the rival base.
This is the category of the famous DOTA and League Of Legends, which we'll talk about next.
DOTA is the acronym for "Defense of the Ancients", a game developed by Valve Corporation. The player controls a character, called a hero, who starts at level 1 and can reach level 25 as they accumulate experience points.
In 2018, the DOTA 2 World Championship champion took a $10.8 million prize, the largest in eSports history.
Dota is well know for having some of the biggest prizes in the eSports biz. The current prize pool for TI10 (The International 10) is set at just over $40 million. TI10 is set to take place in Romania in October 2021.
🥇 League of Legends (LoL)
Also known by the acronym LoL, this game, developed by Riot Games, has the same dynamics as DOTA 2: defend your base and attack your rival's. All this in a scenario with an upper lane, a lower lane, one in the middle, and, among them, the jungle. In each lane, there are a number of turrets, large buildings that will attack the heroes. In the jungle, teams will find neutral creatures to kill for more XP.
💣 Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS: GO)
This is a first-person shooter (FPS) style game. In the game, there are two teams of 5 people each: one of the "terrorists" and the other of "counter-terrorists". The game has a number of different modes that each have different goals. For example, the terrorists have the objective of setting up a bomb in a place in the scene, and the others must try to stop them. In another, the counter-terrorists must rescue hostages within a given time. In order to win a match of CS:GO, the team must win either a best of 15 or best of 30 rounds. This makes it one of the most exciting eSports out there!
🚀 Starcraft II
Starcraft is a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game inspired by the classic Warcraft. However, this game is played in a galactic setting. In these matches, competitors establish themselves on the scene producing resources, structures, and an army to fight their opponent, impeding their progress. The game can be played individually or in teams.
The FIFA game, produced by EA Sports, simulates a football match in the video game. It is impressive for the similarity that virtual athletes have with their real counterparts – both in visuals, attributes, and movement patterns.
Manufacturers organize a world championship each year, for which participants qualify on a professional circuit during the year.
Prominent Award for eSports
What did you think of the $10.8 million prize for the DOTA 2 world championship-winning team? Not bad, is it?
It's a bigger payout than most "real" sports competitions pay. This gives us a clear idea of the potential of eSports as a business arena. After all, was it not a promising market and already on the rise, there wouldn't be that much money involved.
And that's not all. In the same championship mentioned, the total value of prizes distributed to all outstanding competitors was US$ 25.53 million.
eSports athletes may not earn as high salaries as the most famous football, basketball, football, etc. But they're not getting bad pay either.
In the United States, according to the American website, Comparably, the average annual salary of professional gamers is US$64,167.
eSports as a Business Arena
As we've highlighted in different parts of this article, the world of eSports is not just about fun, competition, and prizes. It's also about opportunities.
The digital marketplace industry is booming, but some are betting it's just the beginning of a boom about to take place - we covered a lot on our latest eSports news!
Recently, Citi Ventures ranked eSports as one of ten technologies ready for major disruptions.
The forecast points out that new solutions and challenges must arise with the professionalization of electronic games. It's not just traditional sports brands that have planted their flag to get closer to a loyal and passionate audience for the games.
Large platforms such as Facebook and YouTube focus efforts especially on video streaming and live streams of competitions.
Disputing space with big names can be scary at first sight, but the potential for innovation in this market makes it accessible to good ideas that can be tested and validated.
It means to say that, as is typical of entrepreneurship, nothing happens without planning. And the opportunities aren't just for tech companies, which includes game development.
Demands from marketing, media, sponsorship, image licensing, sporting materials, and event organization are considered promising. As long as it adds value to the universe of eSports, an entrepreneurial idea is born to be an advantage.
One of the factors that may help explain the growing success of eSports worldwide is the proximity between athletes and the public. Yes, there are essential competitions that anyone can participate in, but that's not what we're talking about.
Anyone who is a fan of a game and practices it in their free time identifies much more with a professional player than the person who plays a game occasionally identifies with Neymar, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or other players who play).
In a way, the reality of amateur gamers is more similar to that of professionals, while football players seem to live in another world.
The same logic explains the phenomenon of digital influencers, people who become famous with YouTube channels and social media profiles without depending on television and other traditional media.
What all this can teach companies is that betting on more horizontal communication with their audience can bring significant benefits.
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