The pandemic has negatively impacted many industries like Sports. Since March, many major sports events had to be canceled or postponed. This includes big sports leagues like the English Premier League and the NBA. For the first time, there weren’t many sports to watch and sportsbooks didn’t have plenty of odds to offer to their customers.
With the lack of sports events, bookies had to find other ways to thrive and so many of them shifted their focus to esports gaming. During the months when sports weren’t present, eSports continued. With that, CSGO gambling online and other esports tournaments odds were offered by many bookies.
Since esports can continue without physical contact, this made the industry continue its ascent despite a pandemic. The global esports market is now projected to become a billion-dollar industry before this year ends. It is expected to grow with a CAGR of 15.7 percent which should make it 149.9 million US dollars bigger compared to last year.
Right now, the top 5 esports countries include Denmark, Sweden, the USA, South Korea, and Chine. While the esports industry is still dominated by PC gamers, mobile esports is becoming quickly popular as well. Mobile games like Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG are becoming more and more popular especially in Asia.
One of the reasons why the gaming industry continues to grow despite the pandemic is how games are becoming more accessible and available to mobile users. Mobile gaming has become a cheaper gaming alternative and as more people play mobile games, more people are interested in mobile esports.
Eric Chan, the Chief Public Mission Officer at Cyberport has spoken about the growth of esports recently. Chan said, “As the new normal takes its shape, industry discussions and thought leadership is needed more than ever to shed light on how the global trend of ‘esportification’ will spawn opportunities for the digital entertainment industry.”
Chan explains that there are various factors that should be taken into consideration when it comes to this. This includes the enablement of technologies and innovations, the cultivation of talents into industry professionals, and the facilitation of diversified competitions and events.
Cyberport will hold a forum with the theme concerning the new normal in digital entertainment and the growth of the esports industry during the pandemic called Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (DELF 2020).
In this forum, big esports industry figures will discuss the current topics and trends in the industry including the impact of emerging technologies, business prospects, and regional dynamics.
Newzoo’s Head of Esports, Remer Rietkerk, spoke about the importance of such forums when it comes to the growth of the industry. He said, “We’ve seen new titles enter the scene, shifts in viewing behavior and whole new markets open up in recent days. Trying to do business in esports without understanding the specific trends, emergent risks, and key opportunities is a surefire way to not succeed,”
“By exploring specific dynamics of the industry and relying on qualitative knowledge to synthesize strong data, we can discover exactly what forces are driving the industry, uncover opportunities to innovate and discover gaps in the market to deliver more value to fans and stakeholders.”
Valencia Tanoesoedibjo, the Director of MNC Group, one of the biggest media production in SouthEast Asia that is known to pursue esports, also emphasized the importance of such forums. Tanoesoedibjo said, In terms of the future of esports, events like DELF help create new, alternative career paths for the youth, be it professional players, game developers, commentators, or entrepreneurs. In other words, it will help connect the people contributing or wanting to be a part of the industry.”
She also explained how the relationship between the SEA’s entertainment sector and esports complement each other. She said, “It is growing and will continuously grow in the coming future since the entertainment sector has the capacity to amplify the esports industry and shine a different perspective towards a wider audience.”
Chan also confirmed this but also said that both sectors are still challenged by the pandemic. He said, “During these difficult times, we saw global mainstream sports brands such as NBA and F1 organize esports matches not only to engage fans but in some instances, to become substitutes for their physical tournaments. A number of pop concerts were held and live-streamed through popular gaming platforms.”
Now, even if sports have already returned, it doesn’t mean that the growth of the esports industry will be affected. Even before the pandemic, esports has been growing. The pandemic just really gave it a boost. We can still expect that this industry will grow in the next few years.