2018 was quite the year for eSports. Fortnite dominated headlines while League of Legends made it to Asian Games. Games have never received that kind of attention from mainstream media. Experts in this field do not expect the trajectory of eSports to slow down soon. They believe that better and bigger things await. If you are starting to explore eSports or you are already a veteran in the field, you should consider the following key trends as you draw your 2019 business strategy.
New Titles Will Move to the Top 5 eSports Rankings
In 2019, new games are likely to challenge the existing giants. The market keeps seeing new content every day. It is safe to say that the best future eSport has not been created, yet. Consumers want innovative content. The most popular trends as at now include mobile experiences, multiplayer competition and shooters—and this is what you may see in future blockbusters.
Increase in Brand Investments in Sports
The viewership of eSports is expected to rise to 600 million by 2020. Brands seeking to take advantage of an increasingly competitive and lucrative market will take an interest in sponsorship. Some of the prominent sponsors that have invested in eSports so far include the U.S Navy, Adidas, T-Mobile, Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola. The investments are likely to increase this year. Gamers are a highly sought-after audience because they are mostly young and quite loyal to their preferred games. Mobile eSports Are Likely to Go Mainstream (and Even Sell Out Professional Stadiums)
In 2019, the estimated number of mobile gamers in the world is 2.3 billion, so you can say that mobile is a super popular gaming platform.
This year do not be surprised if you see players earning collegiate scholarships and significant salaries from mobile eSports. Countries like China have already witnessed mobile gaming taking the center stage.
Heightened Cheating Risks Will Be Experienced in the Industry
eSports growth is nothing short of impressive; but that does not come without risk. Just like with offline sports, the fortune and fame that athletes get will attract cheaters. Approximately one million PUBG accounts were banned by BattlEye in 2018 due to hacking. Developers are making banning of cheaters their highest priority. In China, this crime attracts multi-million-dollar fines and jail time. No matter how hard the industry works to stop cheaters, the perpetrators’ fraudulent efforts will still increase.
Production Value and Availability Will Increase
eSports are already being featured on ESPN, YouTube and other prominent platforms. In 2018, a huge eSports league, ESL, signed a streaming deal with Facebook. The amount was not disclosed. A good number of channels, both emerging and traditional, want to show tournaments to their viewers. Any developer or company that wants to go into eSports broadcasting should keep an eye out for the increasing number of distribution options. This will help them select the best channels suited for their content for maximum impact.