Video Games
Photo: The Independent

In recent years, esports has built a huge fan base across the globe. Huge investments have been made in the esports business and it is now entering a critical phase towards maturity.

People aspiring to be professional gamers can download games to practice and pay for the in-app purchases by using pay via phone bill option. With the increasing popularity of video gaming, here are the key trends in the esports business.

Franchising provides opportunities for gamers and organizers

The franchising system was implemented in the esports industry in 2017. Major publishers, such as Blizzard Entertainment and Riot Games, have started to operate the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) and Overwatch League (OWL) in a franchised structure.

This has removed seasonal promotion and teams now have a permanent spot that they own. Removing relegation has several benefits for the league and participating teams.

It offers certainty of participating teams and ensures that the fan base is not lost when a team relegates.

The new franchising system is also a recognizable structure for advertisers, broadcasters and other agencies.

The success of this system has attracted a lot of media right buyers. The NA LCS and OWL are off to a good start in gathering large content and good sponsorship deals.

Media and telecom move in

As esports attract a large number of audiences across the globe, the media and telecom companies have started showing interest in the esports industry.

In 2018, Twitch and OWL signed a deal of $45 million per year. According to a recent Newzoo report, the wave of consolidation between media, telecom and entertainment companies will continue in the coming years.

In August 2016, Disney acquired 1/3 stake in BAMTech, which offers digital streams for a variety of sports.

There are also rumours of Alibaba or Tencent acquiring Twitter. This development in the sports industry is driven by the quest for engaging content.

The future will see an increased convergence between sports, telecom, media and entertainment companies.

The rise of mobile esports

With over $61.3 billion acquired in global revenue in 2018, mobile has grown to be the biggest gaming segment in recent years.

As competitive mobile gaming continues to rise, esports will become more popular among the youth. Mobile esports saw a massive growth last year in Asia which was driven by the mobile-first culture of the region.

There are a number of live sports events held in Asia with millions of gamers watching them. Not only are core competitive games popular among players, but more casual titles like Battle of Balls are also attracting large crowds.

Newzoo expects that PC-based game franchises will continue to dominate esports viewership in the West.

While many mobile sports initiatives will be launched in the coming years, they will not be popular in the West as compared to Asia.

As mobile games can be played anywhere, live competitions can be organized at any time. Some gaming communities are already organizing competitions around games such as Clash Royale in cafes and local bars.