What the Next Decade has in Store for the eSports Industry
As of November 2019, eSports tournaments have generated a total of over $760 million in prize money. $190 million of that came from 2019 alone. With this trend increasingly so powerfully, the 2020s are poised to show just how far eSports can go. Given what we know now, which trends can we expect to continue, and what new changes might reshape what already exists?
The industry today
At this point, eSports has officially surpassed some of the most major traditional sports in the world. The annual tennis tournament Wimbledon, for example, was overtaken this year by several major gaming tournaments, both in terms of possible winnings and total views.
We also see eSports taking up larger spots within related industries, such as online betting. Online tools such as the Comeon Sportsbook boast impressive numbers, offering insights on the likes of football and basketball, and they’re now existing alongside eSports games like DOTA 2 and CS: GO, which are also continuing to draw in impressive numbers.
Even major television networks like ESPN are beginning to show eSports tournaments in their regular line-ups. Combine this with the enormous coverage performed by online streaming service, and you can see that eSports, even as it currently stands, is no slouch.
Hundreds of millions of dollars, millions of fans, and a scope which shows no signs of slowing down.
What the industry could be
There are some aspects of the next generation of eSports that are almost guaranteed, while other elements are far less predictable.
Lying on the more predictable end will be the expansion of eSports infrastructure. This means more dedicated eSports arenas, greater levels of interest from areas like sports betting, and more emphasis on the local scene.
It is quite possible ongoing developments could bring about a new golden age of gaming-focussed internet cafes. While these have persisted in some countries like Korea with PC Bangs, in many western countries these saw a dip around the time when online consoles became standard.
This also means the opportunities to make money from eSports and related fields will be vastly improved. Whether working within your town to make a gaming café, to front-stage tournament work and planning, and even building and catering, the new range of eSports-generated jobs should be immense.
What is far less predictable, though, is the form of the games that might take the spotlight. At the current rate, DOTA 2 will likely hold a major place for at least the first half of the 2020s at least. We would also expect Counter-Strike, whether Global Offensive or a new version, to maintain a heavy presence.
As for other games, this remains in question. Fighting games, other than Smash Melee, tend to cycle with each major entry. This cycling makes them near impossible to predict. Likewise, there are other unknown breakouts not yet discovered which could entirely reshape the multiplayer gaming landscape. Remember that PUBG and the original DOTAwere unexpected hits, and they remain some of the most influential mega-hits to this day.
Finally, we have to factor in the potential for AR and VR experiences. While still limited today, the potential of lightweight second and third-generation devices could be immense. AR games, in particular, could fuse physicality and digital worlds into something only yet seen in science-fiction.
If you’ve been looking to get into some aspect of eSports, there is no better time to start than now. Whether a player, producer, fan, or manager, the trajectory for the next few years is clearly defined. ESports is still on the climb, so don’t let any opportunities pass you by, and stay watching.