The Rise of Video Gaming and how it Built up the Esports Sector

A decade ago, video gaming was of very little significance compared to where it is now. Back in 2009, the “classic” version of Minecraft had just gotten released, the PlayStation 3 Slim was brought to market, and mobile gaming was just taking off, with the billionth iOS App Store app being downloaded on April 24, 2009[1].

As of 2018, video gaming in the UK was valued at $4.85 billion US dollars (double its 2007 value), making it bigger than the UK’s music and video entertainment categories combined. This growth was primarily from the three games Fifa 19, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4[2]. Another 2018 study indicates that mobile gaming alone made up 40% of the gaming market, expected to exceed 50% by 2020[3].

With greater engagement levels also comes greater diversity in players. While video gaming is generally categorized as a hobby enjoyed mostly by young males, a 2017 Pew study indicates that in America, about four out of ten women, and roughly a quarter of people over the age of 65 sometimes play video games[4].

Then, with these lofty figures of engagement and diversity comes a similarly sizeable market of spectators. The 2017 event Intel Extreme Masters World Championship, held in Katowice, Poland, had live attendance of more than 173,000 people – about 100,000 more than 2016’s Super Bowl championship. Even more amazingly, online viewership of this event exceeded 46 million, which is over 50% more viewers than the TV audience of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, at 30.6 million[5].

Finally, this level of popularity between players and spectators has cultivated a fast-growing breed of athletes, both amateur and professional. The most prolific streamer is, by far, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, whose earnings have cleared $500,000 USD per month[6]. The stakes in Esports competitions have also gotten to be even higher than ever before. Hearthstone Esports announced that its 2019 competitions would have a total prize pool of more than $4 million USD[7].

It cannot be denied that both video gaming and Esports have seen incredible growth in the past couple of years. This growth stands to continue, now that there is a strong possibility that Esports will be an event in the Olympics[8]. At Gamesquare, these are all trends that we are paying very close attention to, and it is our objective to use our familiarity with these trends to create opportunities for Esports teams, players, and streamers.

These are early days for Esports, and we look forward to you joining us in being part of the growth of what will be one of the biggest entertainment categories on earth.

[Image by STUDIOJQ]


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