In the last few years, the eSports industry has seen a considerable boom in both popularity and revenue.
With competitive and Twitch stream viewerships being at an all-time high, more and more gaming firms are realizing the potential of eSports, and are channeling their focus on them.
Heck! Even a company like Konami recently announced their very own Creative Centre Ginza.
With their latest venture, they are trying to boost their influence in the eSports market and develop games that can suit this competitive platform.
Recent analytics suggest that eSport has a much higher revenue potential than the more traditional games like soccer and baseball.
In 2016 itself, the world finals of the game League of legends had more live viewership than the NBA finals. A hard to digest fact for many, but it's true.
And it's this very potential of the industry and the growth that it promises, which draws major gaming firms to invest in it.
So what are some of the factors which determine the growth of eSports? Let's take a look.
1. A Plethora of Game Genres.
Now a vast majority of the eSports titles are PC games and out of which the more prominent ones are the MOBAs and the FPSs.
And among the MOBAs, not many games come close to the legacy that League of Legends and Dota2 have been able to create for themselves in the last ten years.
However, MOBAs are rather difficult to pick up and follow by the newer gamer. The rookie can find the mechanics of the game quite complicated and may move on to games that are much more accessible.
Here is where the versatility of the genres come in handy.
Unlike MOBAs, First Person Shooters are much easier to pick up. So, it's not all that surprising when in ESL ONE Counter Strike Global Offensive from Valve saw one of the highest viewership a game has ever seen.
Counter-Strike fanatics literally took over Twitch chat, and the game saw the most hours watched in a single day, leaving even League of Legends in the dust.
In 2015, the Philippines mobile operators called Smart Communications held a Clash of Clans eSports tournament, which to date, holds a record for the largest prize pool for a mobile gaming competition.
In recent years much of the boost in eSports came from game corporations buying franchises around which a competitive gaming scene already exists.
With giants like SK Telecom and FNatic already being in the eSports scene for years, newer ones like Echo Fox and Team Liquid have emerged to make the competitive stage as close and as thrilling as possible.
This not only significantly boosted viewership raised awareness on the fact that being a professional eSports player and streamer can be a viable career option as well.
2. Regional Leagues.
eSports leagues and tournaments have the ability to help investors tap into bigger advertising budgets and revenues.
Much like the more traditional sports, eSports too has the potential to exist on a national, regional, and even a global level.
But in terms of the global hierarchy, only just a handful of advertisers today have successfully marketed themselves, and it's primarily because of League of Legends.
The game has an amazing league based structure with each region having their own competitions, which then culminates into a Worlds tournament.
Leagues like North-America's LCS, Europe's LEC, China's LPL, and Korea's LCK have an incredibly high viewership that the sponsors and advertisers draw a high revenue from.
3. Competition Regulation and eSports Betting.
In 2019, eSports is no more in its grassroots stage of development.
It's no more a group of nerds gathering in their mother's basement and cosplaying while they compete with each other.
The competitions today are large, with bafflingly huge prize pools, strict rules and regulations, and of course, betting.
Advertisements, selling merchandise, and allowing betting on individual eSports games have become one of the primary sources of revenue for the sponsors.
Following Unikrn's license approval, legal eSports betting is now a possibility.
However, regulating betting is not the only thing that Unikrn does. It is a strong advocate of rules and regulations as well and has been a major force in preventing match-fixing, software manipulation, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs in tournaments like the ESL.
4. Owning Media Rights.
When it comes to content rights in the eSports scene, the current structure is quite volatile.
There are no set rules or definitions that give sole media rights to a particular sponsor or publisher. The content and profit is more or less shared and not at all regulated.
While the games played during the events are owned by the publisher, the videos and content made by the fans are owned by the fans and streamers themselves.
So, content rights are not a top priority for the publisher right now. But if the industry keeps drawing more and direct revenue, things might change in the future.
5. Sponsoring the biggest Talents.
Sponsoring a particularly talented player can help draw in a lot of revenue for the gaming firm, as well.
In soccer, companies like Nike, Adidas, and Puma draw in a lot by sponsoring and advertising with big names like Messi and Christiano Ronald.
The same is true for the eSports scene as well. One of League of Legends' biggest name is Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, who has one of the highest fan bases across all the streaming platforms
He has been a part of the team owned by the mobile company SK Telecom ever since he hit the professional stage, and they have been using his fame to advertise themselves ever since.
Recently he has advertised for the brand alongside the Tottenham Hotspurs star Son Heung-Min; this just goes to show that an eSports pro is not all that far behind in notoriety than a traditional sports figure.
Heck! Nowadays, professional Fifa streamers and gamers are richer than actual football players themselves.
The Future of eSports.
It's safe to say that in the coming years, the future of eSports seems pretty bright and not just for the digital platform, but for the games, the players, the sponsors, and the gaming firms who invest in them as well.
Their potential is truly limitless, with an ever-growing viewership and popularity.
For more news on the Konami eSports scene you can always check out the link.