Dive into the World of E-Sports

Dive into the World of E-Sports

  • Reading time:5 mins read

It’s not uncommon to come across hardcore gamers who could intrigue you with their stories of all night gaming marathons with fillers of exhausted eyes and empty Red Bull cans. Little did we know that they form an industry which yields over a billion dollars in revenue!

What are eSports?
eSports are an electronic means of organising gaming events at different levels including regional and international. This style of gaming provides a chance to amateurs to  compete against professional players. The eSports segment is becoming a new sensation in the market as it brings the smashing combination of gaming and sports. The “modernness” of this Industry has resulted in unprecedented content, opportunities and also has proven to be a gateway for brands. 

Before discussing the behemoth that eSports has turned into, with potential to grow even more, let’s delve into the history and evolution of this industry. 

The first eSports event was organised all the way back in October of 1972 at Stanford University where students competed in the video game, Spacewar. The grand prize for the winner was a year-long subscription to the Rolling Stones magazine. However, it wasn’t until 1980, when the first video game competition was held. The Space Invaders Championship had a great attendance of 10,000 participants and received widespread media attention since Space Invaders (the game of the tournament) was a household name at that point of time.

When the 1990s came around, it saw the rise of the now indispensable internet and the world wide web. The internet did for gaming what it did for instant messaging, it connected gamers through the web so that now online competitive gaming was made possible. Internet connectivity also gave rise to the growth in popularity of PC games and companies such as Nintendo. Additionally, Blockbuster began sponsoring video game world championships around this time. In 1997, the Red Annihilation tournament for the formerly famous “Quake game” was held which drew in about 2000 participants. It is widely regarded as the world’s first eSports event. The winner also got to drive off in John Cormack’s (lead developer of Quake) Ferrari as the grand prize!

Today, eSports generates a revenue upwards of $973.9 million. The industry has been on the boom and has seen tremendous growth in various aspects in a few years. It’s growth is directly connected with technological advancements and the way humans have come online. In 2020, when the world turned upside down and we connected digitally, the size of the eSports audience increased immensely worldwide and witnessed a new high of 495m.

There are a variety of international eSports events like Fortnite World Cup, League of Legends World Championship, BlizzCon 2020, Capcom Cup, International eSports Federation World Championships,  Overwatch World Cup, EVO (Evolution) Championship Series.

But the biggest of them all, Dota 2’s “The International”, generated a revenue of $34 million in 2019 itself with a peak viewership of 1.97 million. 

eSports players, not unlike traditional athletes, can rake in big money: Tournaments can boast millions of dollars in prize money, which is typically split between the players of the winning teams. The world’s very tip-top players can easily earn seven figures in a year. Teams and event organisers also benefit from ticket sales for these competitions.

Another source of livelihood for this industry comes from the online streams on platforms like Youtube and Twitch which allow viewers to watch as their favourite gamers play in real time, and with this, gamers build their fandoms.

Let’s consider the multiplayer battle game widely cherished in our country: PubG, which had taken India by storm and was able to create an optimistic setting for content creators, tournament organisers, players, organisations, and talent. With an enormous player and fan base, PUBG tournaments started catering a wider audience. From paid entry in online tournaments, promoted by ticketing platforms such as BookMyShow, to some of the biggest Indian export LANs, almost no big brand has missed the opportunity to cash in on PUBG in India. PUBG Audience has been extremely loyal and were so hooked to watch their favourite players and teams. Youtube is the major platform on which PUBG Mobile content is consumed by Indian audiences. PUBG Mobile saw a global revenue increase of $1.3 billion in the first half of this year, bringing its lifetime collection to $3 billion with the highest number of downloads in India which ranks at the top with 175 million installs. 

However, on 2nd September 2020, the Indian Government banned 118 applications which included PUBG mobile and PUBG lite. It was an abrupt announcement which left several Indians unhappy. It is the largest single entertainment source for India after cricket. There is this whole streaming community that watches PUBG and was one of the top mobile games in the country in 2019. There are  commentators, casters, production people who could possibly lose their livelihoods. 

Amidst this Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar announced the launch of a multiplayer action-game, FAU-G on Friday. The game is expected to launch at the end of October with its first-level set in the Galwan Valley backdrop followed by third-person shooting gameplay in the subsequent releases. The game will be available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Powering through such hiccups, the eSports industry bolstering an impeccable potential growth rate of 14% could surpass major sports leagues like the UEFA Champions League by 2023, becoming one of the most financially decorated sports in the world!