Snack Week 1: Understanding eSports and it’s meteoric rise

For the first entry of our snack series, the company has given us the run down on the key components of the eSports world, and why it has grown so much in popularity. 
Understanding eSports and it’s meteoric rise
As long as there have been video games appearing on screen – people have been entertained watching this type of gaming. eSports is the idea of competitive gaming – where you need to beat your opponent and determine the winner. The sport has evolved since early days of playing on your first Playstation. While it’s still quite fragmented there is a clear opportunity for affiliates to invest in promoting esports and capitalise on the market whilst in this early phase.
When exactly did it all begin?
eSports isn’t a new concept – in fact, the very first eSports event was organised in 1972 for a game called Spacewar.  The prize was a subscription to the Rolling Stones magazine.  Then in 1980 – the first real video competition was held where there were 10,000 participants for the Space Invaders game.
When the 1990’s hit – and everyone was talking about the World Wide Web arrived, this made competitive online gaming possible.  The fact that there was internet connectivity made it incredibly popular with companies such as Nintendo beginning to act as sponsors for world championships.
The growth in this industry has been exponential with the total prize money in 2017 amounting to $110.6 million in these tournaments, as such it has now piqued the interest of iGaming affiliates and operators who are looking to capitalise on this meteoric rise.  With the estimated revenue set to reach $1.5 billion by 2020, it shouldn’t go unnoticed in terms of a new affiliate marketing revenue opportunity.
Who Makes up the eSports ecosystem?
This ecosystem is still fragmented, and there are a number of parties that contribute to the success and growth. Understanding the ecosystem helps to put perspective on where opportunities to enter this market currently lie.
The Games Developers
We rely on the developers of the game to continually create new game content that is appealing to the end user.  Technological advancements mean that expectations  for unique gaming experiences are much higher than before.  Players expect a lifelike experience in their online gaming, which not only makes it fun to play but entertaining to watch.
Tournament Operators
Just like with any competitive sport, eSports needs tournaments to keep the excitement going, and to invite sponsorship deals.  The industry needs regular competitive tournaments to attract top talent, and to ensure that they are popular with the fans.  They need to come up with significant prize money and innovative ideas to keep the teams, players and fans interested.
eSports Teams
In the world of competitive gaming, there needs to be robust and strong teams to compete at a high level.  To keep the industry evolving, there needs to be smaller and new teams emerging that can present a challenge to some of the most established teams.  If fans know who is going to win all the time, where’s the fun in that?
Media and Sponsor Partners
Media and sponsors go a long way to fund the growth of this industry.  Without these, the tournaments would be much less attractive, and it may become challenging to attract the best eSports talent.
eSports Players
eSports players are becoming influencers or celebrities in their own right.  The most successful players generally have a vast and engaged social media following which helps to grow the industry.  They act as influencers in their own right and are critical to the continued success of eSports.  People have favourite players and support them when it comes to tournaments, which will only generate income.
eSports Fans
eSports fans can be incredibly passionate – and this “fandom” is what makes this industry work.  There are a projected 84 million viewers of eSports by 2020.  To give this perspective, the projection for the NBA is 63 million.  They not only watch tournaments, but they may watch Twitch streams, purchase merchandise – and do a lot for eSports as a whole.
Hopefully, this has given you some useful starter information about the eSports market and the players that make up the ecosystem. Tune into next weeks article for more in depth insight on the esports market place and how you can participate in creating a profitable affiliate revenue stream.
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