The Growing Industry of Esports


Esports, or electronic sports, are organized multiplayer video game competitions that can be viewed online and in person. Players can compete as individuals or in teams, with professional gamers able to make substantial money from their achievements.

ESports are a rapidly growing industry that has already eclipsed the revenues generated by traditional professional sports like baseball and ice hockey. The phenomenon is driven by young digital natives, with research suggesting that 65% of fans are between the ages of 18 and 34. Moreover, while the popularity of esports does skew male, women are also active participants.

While esports have been around for decades, they underwent a major transition in the 1990s as tournaments became more formalized and the first eSports leagues (such as the Cyberathlete Professional League) were established. The rise of social media and eSports’ ability to scale across geographies and platforms also helped to spread the word.

There are a wide variety of games that can be considered part of an eSport, from traditional sports like football and basketball to more niche titles such as strategy games, shooters, racing games and role-playing games. Typically, these games feature a player-versus-player format, though some have multi-player modes as well. Most eSports are played professionally, with players contracted to competing organisations and practicing extensively in order to compete at the highest level.

In addition, some games are designed with eSports in mind from the outset, with developers adding dedicated features or making design compromises to support high-level play. For example, many successful eSports such as StarCraft, League of Legends and Dota 2 feature “ranked” gameplay which allows players to compete against others in a sanctioned setting with specific rules and restrictions.

The growth of eSports has been helped by the increasing popularity of digital platforms and the increased accessibility of internet connections around the world, making it possible for millions of people to watch eSports events live. This growth has also been fuelled by an active community that consists of both casual and competitive gamers. Unlike the majority of traditional sporting events, which are restricted to those who can attend live events in person, eSports can be enjoyed from anywhere in the world via streaming services such as Twitch, YouTube and ESL.

The eSports industry is expanding rapidly, with bookmakers and TV broadcasters getting involved and big non-endemic brands such as Coca Cola starting to sponsor teams. This expansion has fueled a burgeoning global economy, which is expected to be worth over $11 billion by 2022. In addition, the eSports economy is creating jobs around the world at an unprecedented rate. For example, the number of eSports jobs rose by a staggering 40% between 2012 and 2017. In the United States alone, there are now more than 31,000 eSports-related jobs, with over 60% of those based in Silicon Valley. This growth is set to continue, with a further 15,000 jobs expected by 2022.


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