Future of eSports: Sport which don’t require physicality have been popular for centuries. Poker is a historic game of skill, cunning, and psychological awareness. From its beginnings in American Wild West saloons to the lavish casinos of Las Vegas, it has experienced numerous transformations over the years.
However, a paradigm shift occurred when online poker became available in the late 1990s, opening up the game to a far wider audience. Right now, the game is among the most popular online sports that people have ever played.
eSports: The Next Big Thing of 21st Century
Over the years the sports we all knew the best were Cricket, Baseball, Basketball or Football. However, times have changed and now, there is a wholly new segment of sporting. It is online and actually competitive as much as usual sports.
It’s referred to as Esports. This term was either unidentified or non-existent ten years ago. However, the roles have now reversed. Esports, which stands for electronic sport, organized gaming competitions. They are a subset of gaming video content.
Many esports share the same organizational elements as traditional sports, including leagues, teams, and players. Because live streaming and gaming have a social component, esports have become extremely popular. Its accessibility to pop culture, e-commerce, gaming, and media highlights prospects that go beyond gaming events.
The Revenue Generating Power: Esports Hidden Calibre
According to data company Statista, esports brought in roughly $243 million in revenue in the United States and about $360 million in China in 2021. The industry depends on fans all over the world to bring in that kind of money.
Esports have already begun to receive international attention, as evidenced by some very impressive statistics. Since 2016, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of eSports viewers, including enthusiasts who watch the sport on a regular basis as well as sporadic viewers.
There was an annual increase of 12.3% from 2018 to 2019. With adjusted numbers for 2019, there were 197 million eSports fans and 200.8 million infrequent viewers, for a total audience of 397.8 million.
The growth from year to year persisted into 2020 and 2021. There were 249.5 million infrequent viewers and 240.0 million eSports enthusiasts in 2022, for a total of 532.0 million eSports viewers. This rising viewer base also led to increase in advertisement and marketing of the events eventually ending up in generation of billion-dollar profits.
The Future of eSports: Bright and Competitive
These numbers makes it more ardent that eSports is a booming market and will continue to boom for years to come. While the esports audience is still smaller than that of leading traditional sports such as football, it has a unique advantage – high growth potential.
Today, only ~15% of the gaming audience also follows esports. But as more games create a strong foundation, that number is likely to grow. There are estimates that there are approximately 3 billion gamers in the world today, with ~500 million esports fans, indicating a current untapped potential of 2.5 billion people.
Alongside, the world of technology is a changing paradigm. It keeps on evolving. The world has just been introduced to AI and it is already being used in eSports for multiple purposes.
AI is already being used by many big tournament organizers and sponsors for multiple purposes. For instance, AI can make RPG and VR games more engaging. AI researchers at the University of Bath in the UK are making characters in VR games more interesting. They have made the movements of these characters more realistic using AI.
AI techniques like machine learning and natural language process can identify negative player behaviour and players with an aggressive emotional state. AI is also helping game developers to make games more realistic and engaging.
What’s The Future?
Because of the industry’s rapid growth, eSports players, organizations, and fans have a bright future ahead of them. From its modest beginnings, poker experienced a revolutionary change when it went online, resulting in an international expansion.
Similarly, eSports have drawn attention from viewers all over the world as the next big thing in 21st-century sports. With millions of dollars in revenue projected for 2023, eSports’ potential is clear, supported by an expanding viewership.
In addition, with AI’s integration and the vast gaming audience, eSports stands at the intersection of technological innovation and entertainment, promising a bright, competitive future for fans, organizations, and players alike. Though it only reaches 15% of gamers, there is a huge unrealized potential—roughly 2.5 billion people haven’t engaged yet.