At the risk of aging myself, I remember the day when there was no such thing as esports. For me, gaming was at first Pac-Man, then Frogger, before reaching the heady heights of the Olympics on a Commodore 64. In each of these examples, apart from people in the house, game playing was fun, but it was solitary rather than communal. Apart from the rare trip to the gaming arcade, we played alone and talked about it at school the next day. It was fun, but not as much fun as gaming is these days. And if you wanted to gamble? Oof, you’ve got to head to the nearest casino, and only during their opening hours…
How far we have all come, and what a galaxy away we are now as the world of iGaming and esports is ubiquitous. From the early days of multiplayer games to the current landscape of playing with friends in real-time around the globe, gaming has changed massively. You can do almost anything now. Want to play at 5 AM with people in another country for 8 hours straight? No problem. Want to log into your favorite casino and check out all the new online casino games? Easy! Want to try new gambling options online, with the rules and every strategy you could want at your fingertips? It’s there!
The iGaming options are seemingly endless, and thankfully for the esports and game-playing community, this is a growing industry, not a shrinking one.
In the current climate, iGaming and esports are huge. When I say huge, I am talking about a multi-billion dollar industry that has an incredible projected growth trajectory. It’s profitable for creators, companies, and players, and both social and competitive. So, how has esports grown from its early inception and emerged as a form of global online entertainment, and how is it transforming into a business beyond the console and becoming a prize-fuelled sector for players? Let’s see.
According to recent industry figures, there are well over 800 officially registered esports organizations. From arranging local leagues to global tournaments, these organizations are a genuine showcase of how big esports has become. The idea that a computer or console game would spawn a global community was simply not conceivable years ago; now it is hard to imagine a time before esports leagues, tournaments, prizes, and conventions.
Whether it’s publishers like Blizzard or tournaments like Blast Day, competitive esports are everywhere. If you want to know anything about a particular game, there are online esports forums for everything from Call of Duty to Halo, and sites dedicated to tips and tricks for other players, plus online platforms where gaming skills can be honed and learned. It is perhaps not surprising that esports has evolved, especially as fans are known to be die-hards, but perhaps the speed at which this industry has evolved is a surprise. It is certainly impressive, but does the already-realized potential have more to give us?
In answer to the question above, I think it is highly likely that the number of leagues, the number and size of tournaments, and the attendant prizes are on the road to bigger and better. With million-dollar prize pots already available for things like Counter-Strike 2, it is easy to see that sponsors are keen to get involved and esports game creators are even more eager to deliver the next big esports phenomenon. The player pool is there, the market is global, and there are always more players to draw in.
League of Legends, Fortnite, Minecraft, Call of Duty, Counter-Strike – these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to esports games that have, to put it simply, conquered the gaming world. Sales in the multi-millions, players in the same numbers, global tournaments popping up left, right, and center, and over 40 leagues already in existence worldwide: the triumph of esports is there for all to see.
With existing revenue of over US$1.2 billion and forecasts of year-on-year growth of 16%, it is hard to see how esports are going to get anything but bigger. This level of commercial success is, of course, based on players as well as products, and it is those very players that have enabled the creation of esports leagues, forums, tournaments and, in turn, the desire of companies and sponsors to make this a financially rewarding competitive business for players as well as esports companies creators. Circling back, I am fairly confident when I predict that the esports business, as well as the esports global community, is going to go from strength to strength. With companies worth billions, tournaments attracting the best esports players from around the world, and these same events now being televised on networks and online streaming platforms, everything looks good. Whether you are a game creator or company, a team player, a fan of mobile casino games, or an individual esports guru looking to make your mark, this is a great time to be alive and for the industry, things can only get better