E-entertainment consumer behaviour has changed with the developments of the gaming market.
In years gone by, midnight queues for the latest game release on the biggest-selling consoles would be the norm.
The advent of the internet saw the creation of walkthrough game solutions, to maintain consumer loyalty and purchase, rather than giving up and discarding an impossible to finish game. Then, online gaming platforms enabled far wider participation against competitors from all over the world, from within players’ own homes. Naturally, it seems, the move to prize-based competitive tournaments has flourished.
Gamers compete in tournaments around the world for eyewatering prize money, with streaming coverage often drawing audiences greater than many major sporting events themselves.
The Call Of Duty Championships, a Counter Strike: Global Offensive competition, racked up audiences of 20 million viewers as gamers duked it out for a $2m prize fund. This was among the Dota 2 International competition, the behemoth of the eSports calendar, with a total of over 20.8 million dollars up for grabs by the 80 players competing. You can keep up to date with eSports coverage from Betway who are sponsoring a good number of these events, as well as placing a bet on the outcome yourself.
Then there are the players paid to compete in these tournaments. Now, in much the same way we have professional poker players, we have eSports professionals; professionally hired competitive gamers, participating in international tournaments dedicated to a game or franchise.
Take, for example, FIFA 16. For the first time professional FIFA 16 gamers have been rolled out, with teams like the German Bundesliga club Wolfsburg unveiling the Briton David Bytheway as their latest signing in the eSports world. While not quite at the level of real-world football stars’ wages, the position still seems to command a comfortable and liveable wage.
Professional eSports players typically gain followers in the hundreds of thousands on their social media platforms, of whom many login to dedicated platforms like twitch just to watch them train, in the hope of informing their own gameplay.
There, is however, resistance in the wider consumer world, to recognising eSports as a legitimate sport. Its digitised nature and lack of physical contact and exertion has drawn a good number of sceptics. That hasn’t stopped the money following the phenomenon, and the willing sponsors in the form of real world sports clubs could see nonetheless an exponential market growth.