The key to succeed in such a dynamic environment like the gaming industry is to understand the competitive gaming market, also knows as esports. Since the gaming industry is focused on entertaining, the main driving force is the audience. So, what’s the outlook on how popular this enjoyable sport will be in the future? Newzoo, a reputable company specialized on esports-based analytics has published the “esports audience growth” chart:
The number of occasional viewers grew by ~15.63% but the more important growth is that of the esports enthusiasts – their number grew with ~20.98%. Esports enthusiasts will be the target group for companies related to gaming and pc-hardware, while occasional viewers help attract more sponsors in other branches like fast-food and telecommunication for example.
The following diagram is a good example of the year-on-year growth of different sources of income for the esports branch.
With sponsorship being the biggest portion, the best thing to focus on is a growing audience. With a growing audience, the interest of the media would follow, thus bringing more monetary possibilities, as well as a wider publicity.
Not only is streaming important for setting foot in the world of esports, but also for taking fast-growing sectors with potential by storm. In esports, broadcasting and media rights will be a key growth driver as the worlds of media and gaming continue to converge.
We talked about the outlook of the esports branch, but let’s focus on what’s critical for the beginning.
The popularity of a game is the main factor for a sponsor to invest in an event or in individuals taking part in one. The game doesn’t necessarily have to be fitting esports standards to be a display for different sponsors, but it helps if it is competitive since single-player games won’t be able to entertain viewers again and again.
Therefore, it comes with no surprise that the most viewed games on the streaming website “twitch.tv” in September 2018 were competitive games such as:
The most viewed esports featured games in September 2018 were:
(Viewing time on esports featured games are taken from esports streaming channels on twitch.tv and youtube.com only, not from individuals. Source: newzoo.com)
Esports streaming channels usually stream events related to several games, such as the League of Legends World Championship, which takes place from Sep 22–Nov 5, 2018 or the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive “Major” Tournaments; these events are held twice a year.
Now, how should an esports team operate to be successful. Let’s take the North American esports team “Cloud9” as an example.
Comparing it to the most viewed games on twitch.tv and youtube.com you’ll find out that Cloud9 is represented in more than one popular game. Like any other sport, gaming requires a different set of skills depending which game you play, so Cloud9 has a different team or individual for each game.
And these are some of their achievements in 2018 alone:
1st Place in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in the first “Major” in February 2018, winning $500,000.
Reached semifinals in the League of Legends World Tournament 2018, competing for the 1st place prize pool of minimum $834,375 but already have won at least $155,750 by reaching 4th place. That is only from the League of Legends World Tournament prize pool and excludes sales of merchandise and product placements during that time.
Not only Cloud9, but also a lot of international well-known teams are managing more than one gaming team (Multigaming). Examples: Fnatic: “Our players attend more than 75 international events per year, representing our brand in every corner of the world. Over 2,000,000 followers on social media who follow us for the latest news on our players and live updates from events.” They play League of Legends, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and 8 mor
G2 Esports also has 12 teams, 58 players and 82 awards won to this date.
What makes those teams successful is not only a wide range of tournaments they compete in, but also a wide range of audience coming with different games; those who watch shooter games like Counter Strike, those who like watching card games like Hearthstone or just like to watch individuals streaming any other new game. Those individuals not only compete in national or international championships, they also influence their audience playing games on their own. Social influencers are as important to gaming networks as skilled players who try their best to win competitions.
Talking about competitions, let’s look into the current situation in national and international competitions. We saw Cloud9 competing in different major competitions like the Majors or League of Legends World Championship. What other competitions are currently anticipated by many?
– Overwatch: BLIZZCON-PLAYOFFS 2. Nov 2018 (Top 8 Overwatch Teams)
– Dota 2: Kuala Lumpur Major, Group stage, 9 to 10 November 2018
– Hearthstone: 2018 Hearthstone Global Games, 2. Nov 2018
There are also plenty small sponsored competitions like:
– Fortnite 2 versus 2 weekly “Legion Sunday Showdown” sponsored by Lenovo and Curse Network in partnership with UMG Events LLC.
– Player Unknown’s Battleground: OMEN by HP Challenger Series 2018 (Pro- players excluded) – JIB PUBG Thailand Pro League Season 1 – Finals
Tournaments are the bread and butter of EGO, and the future of the industry. Because of the importance of successful events, a combination of efforts from all members of EGO’s organization is critical, and everyone’s ability to handle multiple tasks and communicate comes into play here. The sequence of every tournament should follow a basic formula:
These steps are all to be taken before the actual event. As tournaments get larger and attract more demand, we can include streaming services, commentators, larger prizes, and recognition on a regional scale.
As previously mentioned, tournaments can be held at smaller venues to trial methods, suppliers, marketing, etc. This is where a base would benefit mostly from as we would have a point where people can meet up consistently and compete, while we study and learn from mistakes and challenges.