Welcome to the future! A future where top video gamers can become superstar, millionaire 'athletes'. Sickening isn't it? Yet the booming eSports industry needs more than just gamers to grow, so there's ample opportunity for the rest of us.
From Boys' Bedrooms to Billion Dollar industry
Over the past few years, eSports (aka competitive online gaming), has exploded into sports in its own right, paving the way for skilled gamers to turn their favourite pastime into professional careers. But what does this mean for the digital industry?
The world of eSports has come a long way from community organised LAN events held by local gaming fanatics and their peers, and is well on the way to becoming a billion-dollar industry. That are now world rankings for the most popular games such as League of Legends or Dota 2, and rising stars who are gaming legions of adoring fans along with massive earnings. The top all time top earner, a German pro who goes by the alias of KuroKy, has pulled in over $3 million for competing in the game Dota 2.
Events have moved form friends' houses, community centres and gaming cafes to become stadium filling occasions. So much so, that purpose built stadiums are on the rise, such as Blizzard's Arena in Los Angeles. The growth in both audience and revenue are projected to continue snowballing, with the number of global viewers predicted to grow by 50% and profits set to double from this year's figures of $696 million to around $1.5 billion by 2020.
Who's driving the eSports industry's growth?
As a result of the huge increases in popularity, traditional sports teams, corporate sponsors and the media are getting in on the action, with televised events and high-profile signings for the eSports division of big name teams.
Premier league football club West Ham recently signed the Fifa player Jambpp as one of their team of eSports athletes professional eSports clubs like Fnatic are emerging, and eSports are even being seriously considered as an Olympic sporting even, with predicting that it may be addedd to the programme as soon as 2024.
This growth is driving new business opportunities, for not only the players but the wider industry as a whole, with eSports companies and brands gaining prominence. In the iGaming sector, new firms are emerging specialising in eSports (like GGbetm Arcance or Betspawn), and traditional players like Betway and William Hill have formed dedicated eSports divisions.
Hardware continues to be prominent area of growth as gamers equip themselves with cutting edge-technology, with some companies like Razer and Intel dominating the space (the latter having announced a landmark partnership with tournament organiser ESL).
New Career Opportunities in eSports
With this rapid industry expansion, the doors are being opened for many tech and digital career possibilities beyond being a professional gamer. So if you're not a dab hand with a controller or keyboard, where can you fit in?
- with stadium sized events there is a plethora of opportunities in this field, not just limited to the organisational side, but also in-game involvement such as refereeing and commenting, as well as technical setup and logistical operations.
- there is a real need for community networkers and advertisers, and with the constant emergence of new brands, this sector is ripe with opportunity
Editorial and Media
- Writers are in demand, especially those in PR to help publicise the events, brands, teams and companies. The boom is also expanding a range of jobs at broadcasting companies as more games and events are publicised: not only just in television but in Streaming services as well (such as Twitch, one of the big players in the multibillion dollar gaming content industry).
- Just as with traditional iGaming, eSports requires technical skills in data analysis, website building, and communication forums, as well as admin and IT support.
Sportsbook and Gambling
- Odd traders, product managers and management executives will all be needed to specialise in the eSports niche.