By Sebastian Alferez-Jones
Ten years ago, I was sitting alongside 10 other keen gamers in a small dark room in Swansea. Our participation in the local ‘Call of Duty’ tournament certainly wasn’t for mega bucks – the prize fund from these competitions could range from a few packets of Haribo through to the sort of money that would barely fund a round of drinks in a London pub. The notion that people would watch – even PAY to watch – was laughable. Fast forward to 2019 and the colossal growth of the esports industry has been astonishing.
They say a week is a long time in politics – so just imagine how it must feel to be in the esports industry.
Since the beginning of the month, we have seen 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf win a previously unimaginable $3 million, and a couple of weeks ago, the 32 best FIFA 19 players in the world competed at the O2 Arena in London for the eWorld Cup and a $250,000 prize fund.
According to Statista the eSports market was worth a far-from-insignificant $130m in 2012, rising to just under half a billion dollars by 2016. Revenues are expected to surpass the billion-dollar mark by the end of this year and hit £1.8bn by 2022.
Next month, IBC will be marking this meteoric rise by dedicating an entire day to its first ever esports Showcase – cementing its position as a staple part of the wider media and entertainment industry. On Tuesday September 17, a day of topical morning sessions will feature speakers from leaders including Blizzard, Electronic Arts, ESL and Twitch. This will be followed by an afternoon featuring a live esports demo, featuring two pro ESL teams going head-to-head on ‘Counter Strike’ in a specially reconverted eSports arena at the RAI auditorium.
We’re proud to work with many of the companies that are enabling the esports revolution. For instance, The Switch is helping to deliver seamless esports broadcasts, leveraging its expertise and track record in delivering live events such as The Academy Awards and the Superbowl. Meanwhile Make.TV has been partnering with ESL for a number of years, bringing extensive coverage to esports fans around the world. Cloud technology is a key enabler of the rapid growth in global audiences because it enables content providers to create huge efficiencies in the production and distribution of live content – delivering it to fans across a variety of channels and platforms.
With the global popularity of eSports expected to sky-rocket in the next decade, more doors are being opened to talented and hardworking gamers all over the world. It’s a far cry from where the industry was a decade ago. With a little more practice back then, I wonder how many packets of Haribo I would have in the bank by now…