For years, parents have made desperate attempts to get their children to go outside and turn off their gaming console whilst watching games shows of their own such as Deal or No Deal (which you can now also play online: https://games.paddypower.com/game/deal-or-no-deal-gfg). However, with the rise of eSports in recent years, children can now argue back that they’re working towards a professional career.
Several eSports tournaments have established themselves across the world, each one growing in popularity. In the last year alone, these events have gained a lot of attention from fans, including the ‘FIFA eWorld Cup’ which has seen a lot of celebrity interest each year. Winners of this particular event receive an incredible $250,000 prize fund, as well as other opportunities. This year’s winner, Mohammed Harkous, attended ‘The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019’. At the event, he met the Barcelona legend, Lionel Messi, as well as Eden Hazard and Lucy Bronze.
Fortnite World Cup
Online, he is known as ‘Bugha’ but, at the time of the tournament, Kyle Giersdorfwas only 16-years-old. Winning the solo event final and $3 million was quite the payday for someone in their teens. Other winners included; ‘Nyhrox’ and ‘Aqua’ in the duo competition; while ‘Faze Cizzorz’, ‘hiimtylerh’, ‘zand?’ and ‘Suezhoo!’ were crowned the winning team in the Creative competition. In the Pro-AM Celebrity division, ‘Airwaks’ and ‘RL Grime’ won their respective charities $1 million. Due to the hype of the event, the Fortnite game has over 250 million registered users and is one of the most popular games of 2019.
It isn’t just single-day or weekend tournaments that are capturing the attention of eSport fans, leagues are also rising in popularity. One of the most popular is the Overwatch League (also known as OWL). The OWL uses Blizzard-Activision’s first-person hero shooter game, Overwatch, as the game of choice. The 28-match day schedule has four separate, five-week long stages. After beginning your game in a stage group, you can battle it out to try and reach the playoffs. By winning a playoff, you can become a stage champion; which will allow you to compete in the Grand Final.
This year, the eSport industry has grown at an alarming rate, but it’s not just players that have increased in numbers. Viewing is just as popular, and now, marketing brands are investing in an attempt to engage with this enormous viewership. In 2017, there were 192 million casual viewers, and 143 million enthusiasts, with a total audience of 335 million. In 2018 that number shot up to 280 million. Zewzoo, the leading provider of market intelligence for eSports, has predicted that by 2021, there will be a total audience of 557 million.
These games aren’t the only ones that have noticed a growth. Viewing platforms such as Twitch and YouTube have seen an increase in their users with people logging in to watch their favourite players. One significant development in the industry is brand investment, which experienced a growth of 48% from 2017-2018. Newzoo has also predicted that by 2021, the eSports industry will generate more than $1.6 billion in revenue, with a staggering $1.3 billion coming from brand investment.