Were video games a large part of your childhood?
Did you know that you could be making millions of dollars playing video games? Professional video gaming, also known as esports, is a booming industry with massive business potential and has no signs of slowing down. It is an industry currently valued at over $1 billion and has no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the full force of its economic explosion has yet to strike. The value of the industry is predicted to rise from $655 million in 2017 to over $1.6 billion by 2021, a 144% increase.
So, who says video games are a waste of time?
Competitive video gaming has evolved into a global phenomenon involving pro leagues, contracted players and millions of dollars in prize money. These competitive matches or tournaments pit players or teams of players against each other to battle it out over the computer, sometimes in front of large, live audiences. Competitors can make millions through prize money, scholarships and even revenue from streamed matches. Big tournaments attract thousands of fans to sit in a stadium and watch their favorite players.
Although there are many different games being played in this industry, there are a few big games designed for multiplayer battles. Dota 2, League of Legends and Fortnite are some of the biggest eSports games. The prize pools and the number of players within just these three games are massive. One big eSports team, team OG, won $11 million playing Dota 2 last year. At any given time, you can find up to 7.5 million people (in the US and Europe) playing League of Legends at one time. The fan bases for the games can help propel at-home streaming gamers into stardom.
Most of the eSports audience is derived from players streaming their gameplay online. The biggest streaming platform around today is Twitch. It was bought by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million dollars and by 2020, could be worth $20 billion. Many players, both amateur and professional, stream gameplay for fans to watch or even play along. More than 100 million viewers watch gameplay each month, a number that is bigger than the number of people who watch this year’s Super Bowl. Not only is this number big, but it is continuing to grow. Viewership for the League of Legends tournament final was over 127 million people, up 20% from the previous year. In comparison, the 2018 Super Bowl had 103 million viewers, which was down 7% from 2017. While the competitive video gaming audience is expected to grow, the Super Bowl audience is expected to continue to decrease.
The audience base is also continuing to grow.
Last year, over 1.4 billion people knew about eSports and over 196 million are avid viewers of the industry. This year, both of these numbers are expected to grow. It is predicted that almost 1.6 billion people will know about the esports industry and that 215 million people will become dedicated fans of their sport.
There is a discussion being held on whether video gaming is a sport or a competition. Many of the matches have similarities to other sporting events. From announcers to refreshments and gear, esports tournaments can be considered similar to other sporting competitions. Many of the players train for hours a day and work along with other players as a team. The US Government does consider esports players as professional athletes.
Regardless, one thing is for sure – this booming industry is not going away anytime soon. If these insights don’t convince parents that eSports are a legitimate pastime or even a possible career path – reports suggest that gaming may even be featured at the 2024 Olympic Games.