The Future of ESports in 2020

For so long we’ve thought of gaming and gamers as a rather unfortunate addiction brought upon by the age of the internet. But as esports gathers steam in 2020, it could intersect more with video streaming, sports betting and become a lot more mainstream and lucrative.

According to a LinkedIn Editor, esports is an example of a new umbrella that’s creating a lot of new jobs with colleges such as the University of California, Irvine, that is even offering gaming scholarships to those who see a professional track in the field.

The rise in professional esports is also spawning new jobs, including esports lawyers, agents, writers, graphic artists, and even physical therapists.

Electronic sports (esports) experts considered 2018 a landmark year that cemented the space’s potential as the next billion dollar industry. Even so, through 2019 its trajectory has been ballooning.

New leagues, competitions, and regional uptake shows bigger players are getting into the future of esports. Estimates from Newzoo project that the global esports market will exceed $1.6 billion by 2021.

Four Companies to Watch in Game Streaming

Meanwhile, in game streaming Huya, Douyu, Twitch and Mixer provide a gig-economy-like environment for prospective gaming influencers, with a ton of hits as well on YouTube. Meanwhile gaming esports factions are rising.

For instance, according to CNBC, in October, 2019, Cloud9 became the world’s most valuable esports team after raising $50 million in Series B funding, leading Forbes to peg the team with a $310 million valuation.

In 2018, a rush of non-gaming companies, from autos to telecom, struck deals and sponsored events, leagues and teams alongside more traditional tech and gaming-related names and this trend continued in 2019. As esports becomes more mainstream and a valuable niche for young people globally, sports franchises and sports betting are taking notice.

In February 2019, it was reported that Fortnite had more than 250 million registered players worldwide. With its mainstream appeal and popularity, it’s expected this number will keep on increasing and will potentially reach 300 million players next year.

The gaming industry is bright and esports is ultimately yet another vertical to how that industry plays out. Even GenZ women are getting into esports in a big way which should continue to expand into the mainstream as these young adults grow up.

Esports is an Emerging Digital Transformation Story

Esports thus represents a digital transformation story of some note, as gaming solidifies into new industries, new jobs, and more investments. Many esports tournaments and leagues were initially set up for publishers to market their games.

However, now a new breed of gaming influencers are now changing the game, where Microsoft’s Mixer in 2019 bought out many of the stars of Amazon-owned Twitch.

For young people who are increasingly inactive, a future in esports is more lucrative and convenient than one in regular sports. Digital natives aren’t just spending more time on the internet, they are hardwired differently.

Tethered to their devices and screens, gaming and esports for many of them is almost a natural extension of their identity and social networks in the 21st century.

We now live in an era where kids go to college on esports scholarships. What else will esports accomplish in the 2020s? By the end of 2019, the global gaming market is estimated to be worth $152 billion, with 45% of that, $68.5 billion, coming directly from mobile games.

In 2019, Apple and Snapchat have gotten into gaming in a big way as well. The future of app ecosystems is converging with gaming and esports in a unique way.

In the United States, esports will soon rival major traditional sports in both audience size and revenue, according to the consulting firm Activate, which estimates the field is expected to approach $7 billion globally by 2023.

As esports tournaments gain more mainstream prominence in 2020, they will present lucrative opportunities for the media owners and advertisers who are ready to capitalize on it. Brands are still optimising the media opportunities available, in-game, in-stadia and in-stream, via sponsorship of any of the above and more.

Tech companies are also creating new platforms for game playing and game streaming that will make esports much more mainstream by 2025.

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