According to a BBC article from March 2017, eSports will double its revenue to £1 billion and reach a global audience of 600 million people by 2020.
And as the eSports industry continues to grow at an exponential rate every year, this seems like a realistic expectation.
But there are exciting things ahead much sooner than 2020 – 2018 is set to be the year eSports really takes off.
Here are just 3 ways eSports will rise in this year…
1. eSports betting
As with any sport, the bigger and more widely broadcast eSports become, the more bookies will take bets on gaming tournaments. The growth of major eSports is single biggest factor spurring an increase in eSports betting. The growth of new competitions, such as the Overwatch League and the NBA 2K League, is also giving rise to gambling in eSports.
The tide of opinion suggests 33.3% of betting operators believe eSports bettors to have greater lifetime value than those in traditional markets. This represents a rise of 5% on 2017 and surely points to the sharp – and unstoppable – rise of eSports.
2. It will cross over further into traditional sports
In 2017, it was clear that eSports was here to stay. Major football teams, such as the Premier League’s Manchester City, began offering endorsements to FIFA eSports players.
In 2018, we predict more teams will throw their lot into the eSports arena – pretty shrewd considering the huge amount of money to be made.
One major addition to the this year’s eSports calendar is the NBA 2K League – it’s also the traditional sports league one with the most direct involvement from the teams themselves. In fact, an impressive 17 NBA teams have signed on for the first season of the league. And if the remaining 13 teams don’t want to lose out, they’ll be wise to follow suit as soon as possible.
Where’s the market for NBA eSports?
In relative terms, there isn’t much of a market for basketball and NBA in eSports at the moment. But given the rise of FIFA in eSports, it seems like only a matter of time until it catches on.
That said, there are already 1.6 million users of NBA 2K – it’s safe to assume these users watch real-life NBA too, so there’s definitely an appetite among fans of real-life basketball.
3. eSports will take over mobile
With its relatively primitive graphics, yet exciting gameplay, Blizzard Hearthstone is very much a mobile game. Blizzard created the game before the rise of Twitch and prior to eSports taking holds of the mainstream.
As a result, the success of Hearthstone on Twitch and in eSports was a happy accident.
But while developers previously ignored these platforms, Hearthstone’s surprise popularity will mean that eSports take a hold in mobile this year. Our guess is that you’ll see eSports accessibility baked into more and more popular new mobile games in 2018.