eSports have experienced tremendous growth in recent years. It got more professionals training in academies or clubs, higher revenues for competitions, and new technologies that soon point to an even more major boom.
The eSports industry is relatively new for the general public, but it is consolidated worldwide. And the future of eSports looks promising, with a full expansion in different regions of the planet. It is normal to enter sports betting sites and find a whole menu of events related to video games such as Dota 2, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Starcraft or Rainbow Six.
With the Covid-19 pandemic, entertainment and leisure options were reduced for many months, leading people to pay more attention to eSports and slots not on Gamstop. Significant eSports tournaments bring together ‘gamers’ from all over the world, people who have a professional approach to the activity and receive salaries and prizes in the millions.
More professional eSports
The path to the professional level of eSports has been much faster than in other areas, thanks in large part to the sponsors that international competitions attract. As a result, the video game industry is very productive and has multiple different markets and additional branches that generate indirect income for the companies that dominate the global scene.
For some time now, there have been academies or clubs to train e-sports professionals in different countries with a specialised preparation program that includes training and food. The idea is to detect and recruit talent to make it to the elite teams. However, there is also an underlying business that charges fees to parents or relatives interested in their young people having a more promising future.
Increased revenue for eSports
With video broadcasts at ever-higher levels, spectacular arenas, and sponsors’ interest in tapping into a lucrative market, the numbers driving the eSports industry are more than eye-popping. In a few years, interest in e-sports has multiplied, reaching an audience of 300 million people and earning more than 1 billion dollars.
For sponsors, it is a winning formula, as the primary target audience for eSports is young people between the ages of 16 and 35. Companies can advertise in the tournaments and within the video games (for example, with billboards at FIFA matches). Or, they may invest in teams directly, as if it were a traditional sport such as soccer or baseball.
Influencers and eSports competitions
Given the revenue opportunities generated by video streaming platforms, some famous gamers have opted to abandon tournaments and dedicate themselves to the online transmission of their games. It represents another channel to capture money comfortably and creates the niche of video game ‘influencers’, which could soon become a trend beyond competitive events.
Video game broadcasts do not replace the big e-sports competitions organised nationally and internationally, with spectacular audience numbers and millions of dollars in sponsors and prizes for the participants. Regional events are scheduled for the coming years in Africa, Asia, and America to complement the global calendar that has been consolidated in recent years.
New technologies for e-sports
With the proven popularity of e-sports and technological advances just around the corner, the industry is rubbing its hands with the possibilities.
For example, 5G infrastructure will make the Internet much faster, more reliable, and consistent, allowing for better visual quality video games with the option to add interaction from the players and the audience.
Virtual reality and augmented reality will also play an essential role in this relationship between players, game and audience.
According to Claudio Bessa, IBM Latin America developer ecosystem leader, the market is changing thanks to cloud computing. For example, it enables so-called Cloud Gaming or video games streaming on mobile devices such as smartphones.
“Online games require the ability to process complex graphics while scaling seamlessly. Open hybrid cloud infrastructure enables the foundation for scalability in any environment, enhanced data portability and capabilities to create and deploy high-performance gaming platforms worldwide with the low latency required by gamers,” Claudio explained in a company blog post.
Several companies are using the IBM Cloud platform to innovate video game streaming. For example, Skyegrid is a platform that allows people to play video games with zero lag from a laptop, tablet or smartphone. And they don’t have to install gaming software or buy expensive hardware. The platform already has more than 3 thousand subscribers for the same reason.
For Bessa, artificial intelligence also plays a key role because it has several functions.
With simple artificial intelligence developments, strategies can be optimised after a game.
IBM Watson Studio has even been used to analyse, view and obtain information on Starcraft II with a code pattern. In addition, this platform has been used to find highlights in US Open, Wimbledon and Masters games, which can also be applied to e-sports.
It monitors the game and identifies the most exciting moments based on data, including scoring, crowd reaction and player reaction. Such information can be delivered to casters for narration or directly to viewers and fans.
Countries such as South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have plans to create or expand eSports complexes in different cities, all hand in hand with new technologies.
The growth of eSports worldwide is indisputable. With the advances that will come from the hand of infrastructure, developers, hardware and the industry in general, this boom will likely continue for a long time.