The Growth of eSports Gaming
According to market research carried out for 2014, about 205 million people participated in esport activities, this included playing and watching the sport. This statistic is a sign of an unstoppable gaming industry. The growth of esport gaming has actually been steadily increasing since the late 2000s when it started to transform from a simple multiplayer competition to a professional gaming activity that attracts a huge number of viewers just like any other traditional sporting competition.
The growth of this competition seems to be attributed to the hype created by viewers online. It is already known that the internet has been the biggest word of mouth advertiser and since most competitions are viewed online, the hype is spread like wildfire with more and more video game enthusiasts joining the fray.
Egaming was popularised by South Korea which currently has the biggest establishments and was the first to license pro gamers, recognising them as professional athletes way back in 2000 but the gaming industry is now so big that even USA issues P-1A Visas to pro gamers – this type of visa is issued to internationally recognized athletes.
The competitions when streamed live attract over 100 thousand viewers and this has caught the attention of the big companies. Red Bull, Nissan, Coke and Logitech are now competition sponsors. Red Bull was drawn to sponsor the event as even before it joined, a number of competitors were already guzzling the drink since it is believed to increase focus. Right now red Bull and esport are synonymous.
According to statistics, the audience of esports gaming is steadily growing at 21 percent every year, as seen from the figures from 2012 to 2014. In 2012 the sport had 58 million viewers, in 2013 they rose to 74 million and in 2014 they hit 89 million and the numbers are still growing in 2015 with more hours being spent playing and watching tournaments worldwide.
In the late twenty tens, esport gaming has grown rapidly thanks to a video streaming site called Twitch. This site is like the ESPN of the gaming industry, especially in America. It provides streams for games and tournaments, statistics of different players, the opportunity to access the players as well as a platform for upcoming stars to stage their own competitions for their fans to watch. With up to 55 million viewers, it is no surprise that in 2014 Amazon paid 970 million dollars to purchase the site.
And it is not just companies and websites that are making money off the growth of esports gaming. The athletes are actually fully employed as gaming sports professionals and they are making more than substantial amounts of money off this sport. Players like Lee Jae Dong, Oleksander and Sahil Arora are some of the big names in the electronic sport industry bagging thousands of dollars in prize money as well as sponsorship deals.
The gaming industry now is a real competitor for traditional sports as seen in America where some tournaments have seen the Staples stadium sold out with many more fans of the competitions unable to get tickets to the games just like any other sporting event in the USA. Even the growth of the eSports gambling and betting industry is experience exponential growth.
There is a bit of talk that with this growth of esport gaming, maybe with time it will be considered as an Olympic discipline.