Is eSports the Next Big Thing?

by Chris Ross
on June 17, 2017

Video games have come a long way since inviting a few buddies over to play Donkey Kong on a Friday night. As an avid gamer for the past 25 years, I’ve watched as the industry has changed over the years into what it is now. I’ve seen a ton of news articles lately with folks speculating if the eSports industry is the next the thing. Based on my long experience with gaming and some research that I’ve done on the topic, I’m here to weigh in and offer you my two cents.

It is my opinion that eSports is definitely the next big thing. Below, I’ll showcase some of the things going on in the industry and outside of it that drives me to this conclusion. By the time that you get to the end of this blog, I have the feeling that you too will be convinced that eSports is the next big thing.

Understanding eSports

If you’re not sure what eSports are, you’re not alone. While eSports has a massive following, there are many people out there that have no idea what that name means nor what all is involved in eSports. If you’re one of the latter folks, I’ve provided some basic information about eSports below in an effort to bring you up to speed.

eSports stands for electronic sports and consists of competitive video gaming. I’m not talking NES Tetris of Super Mario Brothers from back in the day. eSports typically involve multi-player games such as first person shooters like Call of Duty or battle arena games including StarCraft.

Today, most eSports take place in well-organized multiplayer video game competitions. These competitions can take place online or in person. The spectator crowds and entrants for these tournaments continue to grow year over year.

Growing Revenue

Revenue from the eSports sector is soaring like a rocket. Once you review the stats below, I’m pretty sure that you too will be on my side with the fact that eSports is definitely the next big thing. If these numbers don’t convince you, I’m not sure what will.

eSports Global Revenue:

  • 2015: $325M
  • 2016: $493M
  • 2017: $696M (projected)
  • 2020: $1.5B (projected)

As you can see, the eSports industry is seeing massive growth from a revenue perspective. Revenues grew over 51% year over year from 2015 to 2016 and are projected to keep growing aggressively in the coming years. BY 2020, eSports will be a billion dollar industry.

Growing Viewership

Just as with revenues, viewership of eSports is growing at a rapid pace. The growth in viewership is definitely helping support the growth in revenue. More people watching eSports means that more corporations will be willing to spend marketing dollars to reach that audience.

Industry estimates project that over 427 million people will be watching eSports by 2019. In 2016, it was estimated that over 292 million people viewed eSports. With this many people viewing eSports, it is hard for me to not believe that this is the next big thing.

Major Corporations

One of the reasons that I’m so bullish on eSports is due to some of the major corporate players that are investing heavily into the eSports space. Massive corporations including Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft are all getting in on eSports because they see the growing demand.

When you have major powerhouses like those companies listed above getting in on something at the same time, it means that they’re probably onto something good. These companies are investing billions of dollars into eSports to try and get their slice of the pie. It’d be one thing if Amazon themselves was the only one going hard after eSports, however, with all of these players going hard to the hoop after eSports, it tells me that eSports are the next big thing.

Higher Education

Higher Education is also getting in on the eSports train. Currently, there are 17 colleges out there with varsity eSports programs. Some of the schools are major names that you’ve most likely heard of before such as University of California Irvine. With so many schools beginning to create varsity programs, schools are now having competitions and games between one another much like basketball teams would.

Taking it to the next level, many of these higher education establishments are offering college scholarships to some of the players. This is massive. How cool would it be to get a scholarship to college to go and play video games?! I certainly wish that this was around when I was applying to college.

Seeing higher education establishments get in on the eSports action is another sign to me that eSports is the next big thing. I don’t think that this is some fad like those stupid fidget spinners. eSports will continue to grow and dominate the gaming world in the coming years.

How You Can Participate

If you’re not a gamer but you’d still like to get in on the craze of eSports, the good news is that plenty of online casinos offer you the ability to wager on eSports. Many of these casinos will allow you the ability to wager on some of the hottest games, competitions, and tournaments of eSports. Wagering on eSports can be a great way to keep a pulse on the industry while you watch it grow.

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