Esports – the career of the future?
Key industry companies and trends are growing the esports market which is set to surpass $1.5 billion within two years according to a Business Insider report. The industry has evolved much from a vibrant niche to a central form of entertainment globally.
The rise of Fortnite, increased amount of coverage from traditional outlets like ESPN and celebrity endorsement by figures such Micheal Jordan and DJ Marshmello has helped to push this niche industry into mainstream success while gaming-specific streaming platforms like Twitch connected fans directly to players and teams. Online games like PUBG, Minecraft, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, etc. are scoring high in viewership charts and open unique opportunities for gamers and investors alike.
Wide Career Field
In light of the explosive growth esports experienced numerous courses pertaining to esports management became available. Post University attempts to cover the entirety of the electronic gaming ecosystem by focussing on topics such as esports competitions, leagues, advertising, ethics in gaming, project management and psychology of gaming.
Esports are not just limited to gaming and gamers. The field offers potential careers in a wide range of categories including journalism, marketing, refereeing, shoutcasting, social media management, events manager, agent, analyst and coaching among others.
The highly competitive nature of esports requires interested parties to invest hard work and dedication into this growing digital field. Reaching out to teams, organizations, tournament providers and sponsors is a good way of getting a foot in the door and gaining some work experience in the field. Focussing on a niche area and specializing in it can go a long way, even though being an all-rounder has its benefits, it is important to identify an area which interests you. People with great communication skills may hone in journalism or shoutcasting.
The Future of Esports
The pandemic has had an interesting effect on the nature of sport. Formula One and Nascar turned to virtual races featuring current drivers and celebrities with major broadcasters such as Sky Sports and Fox airing the events. Julian Tan, Formula One’s head of digital growth and esports, revealed in an interview that the inaugural Virtual Grand Prix drew 3.2 million online viewers, of which an estimated 1.2 million were watching on television.
Nascar had similar results with their first eNascar iRacing Invitational Series, drawing more than 900,000 viewers. Newer trends in monetization can see digital goods such as in-game esports team skins and items are expedited to play a bigger role in generating revenue as the space continues to evolve.
According to Newzoo the esports audience is 495 million strong globally. By 2023, with an 10.4% annual growth rate, viewership is expected to surpass 646 million. Recently mobile is being touted as a new pillar supporting the esports industry. With the popularity of free-to-play competitive games (PUBG Mobile) and reduced barriers to entry, mobile esports are fast becoming an unignorable trend.
Sponsorship and advertising form the bulk of esports revenue and can easily adapt to digital routes such as a pre-roll on a livestream, branded highlights on social media and subtle in-game promotions. In a football game advertising boards that surround the pitch, statistics or player of the match awards could be branded. The selling of advertising space in-game allows game developers to reinvest in the product and create a high-quality product.
5G and VR
Stable connection becomes a key consideration for esports professionals. Faster speed and improved latency can provide professional players with the competitive edge. At almost ten times the raw speed of 4G, gamers can enjoy smooth gameplay through 5G. This reliability benefits the audience as well, allowing them to view high-definition esports games. 5G technology allows for added Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality elements as well as multi-viewpoints streams. A report by Ericsson estimates that 30% of wireless connections will use 5G by 2025 while enabling cumulative consumer revenues of almost $31 trillion by 2030.
Esports have come a long way since the 1972 Space Invaders Championship. Prize pools for the 2019 Fornite World Cup and Dota 2 International surpassing $30 million and the esports industry is expected to continue it’s vigorous growth.
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