Video games are rising in popularity and the industry is growing like never before. As computers, mobiles and internet become more accessible worldwide, videogames are reaching more people. This is especially true since the development of free-to-play eSports games, which have revolutionized the market.
Today’s eSports have taken over giant stadiums during leagues and tournaments and are not only being by played by millions, but spectated online by hundreds of millions of fans. eSports is no longer just a subgenre of gaming – it’s a whole phenomenon.
Let’s dive into the world of eSports and see just how much it’s growing – and how the UK is stacking up.
The eSports Industry
The numbers prove it: eSports is growing fast. This year alone, revenue was up to $1.1 billion and by 2022, it’s expected to surpass $1.79 billion. Between media right, advertising, sponsorship, tickets, merchandising and game publishing fees, profit is soaring.
The audience too is growing. Today, there are over 454 million viewers across the world of which most come from China, the US and Brazil. Each individual fan is contributing £4.14 into the industry.
Tournament Prize Money
Tournament prize money has also jumped up as interest in eSports increased. In 2018, the total prize money was an incredible £115 million, an increase of almost 35% from the prior year.
The largest eSports competition, a tournament for Dota 2, had the largest prize pool of all: €22,468,000! Even the NBA Championships and Wimbledon tournaments can’t match those prizes.
If the prizes sound excessive, looking at the viewership explains them. In 2016, the League of Legends final had millions more viewers than the NBA final. In 2018, it reached 100 million viewers, almost as many as the Super Bowl. eSports is surpassing interest in and viewership of the most popular games and finals in the world.
It’s not just the finals that are being watched: fans are watching non-stop streaming of video games on Twitch and YouTube. In 2018, there were 79.5 million hours being watched of “The Overwatch League” on Twitch alone. League of Legends stands at 347 million hours per year.
In 2018, there were an unreal 1.266 billion hours of video games streamed via Twitch and YouTube from the top 25 video games.
eSports in Europe
Europe is beginning to make its mark on eSports. Although China and the US are the frontrunners in the arena, Sweden, Denmark and Germany are still on the top 6 countries to have earned money in the industry. Dota 2 is the game of preference in the European region with strong representation by European players as well.
In the UK, traditional sports clubs are getting involved in the virtual world of eSports by investing in professional eSports gamers and hosting video game tournaments. The Premier League launched the ePremier League Championship, a football video game competition with prize money.
The UK is generally investing in the video game industry: there are now 2,261 active game companies, 62% of which were founded since 2010. London alone hosts 614 of them!
By the end of the year, there will be around 8 million people in the UK eSports audience, especially millennials. Even universities are joining the scene! There are 3000 players represented by 110 universities in the National University eSports League.
eSports – Entering Center Stage
If the stats show anything, it’s that eSports is here to stay and grow at a massive pace. Expect it to outpace classical sports because the new generations are more interested in virtual video games than the athletic sports of yesteryear.
Interesting in learning more? Take a look at this infographic to see the wild expansion of the eSports industry.
eSports – an Infographic by hotukdeals