What to Expect from eSports in 2023
Updated: Jan 16
Written By: Raye James
Image Credit: UNCG News
In the age of increasing internet connectivity and gaming popularity, eSports has successfully leveraged both of these in order to become one of the fastest-growing industries. While the current market revenue amounts to nearly $2 billion, BusinessWire’s global eSports market report expects its value to reach $12.4 billion by 2030. The lion’s share of revenue comes from the sponsorship segment reaching customers both online and offline, followed by the media rights segment that handles the streaming of leagues, championships, and events.
Climbing market growth
This unprecedented growth is most palpable in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific where global audiences can mainly be found. However, many industry experts note that Latin America is also an emerging hotspot for eSports players and viewers alike. Additionally, Maryville University notes how the evolution of eSports has contributed to its growth, from monetizing tournaments with rewards and ticket sales to diversifying content through live commentary, game analysis, and collaborations. The industry also banks on the social component by having players directly interact with fans, be it through shout-outs, replies, or chat rooms on Twitch and YouTube Gaming. Brands, businesses, and even celebrities have also made substantial investments in broadcasting rights and screen time, as well as the sales of gaming merchandise, hardware, and peripherals. By 2023, it's plausible that more distribution channels and payment solutions other than Facebook, Disney Entertainment, and MasterCard will help catalyze the growth of eSports.
Wider variety of games and platforms
Outside of an increased reach and revenue, the future of eSports is much brighter due to the expansion of gaming content and platforms. Simulation games for example have the potential to carve their niche in the industry. In 2021, EA released The Sims Spark’d as a reality competition show with teams of Sims creators/builders and a cash prize of $100,00. In the same year, there was a $40,000-worth speedrunning tournament cup for Stardew Valley hosted on Twitch. Both examples were not explicitly stated as ‘eSports’, but their integration of competitive and collaborative elements can launch other game genres outside of fighting, shooting, and battle arenas to gradually explore their place in the eSports market. Brands and eSports organizers can also cover more ground in the industry through mobile games. In 2021, digital entertainment company MTG said that the accessibility of mobile gaming can transform how eSports is promoted, organized, and supported within the next few years. We can’t expect titles like PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends to fully take over the global scene, but recent advancements in smartphone graphics, cross-play features, and mobile network speed can still help with fully harnessing the potential of mobile-oriented eSports. The links between mobile, PC, and console gaming also offer new and reimagined possibilities for hosting game events with live audiences.
Live eSports betting options
Betting already exists in traditional sports, but the digital nature of eSports opens the doors for a more authentic and real-time experience. Our article on How to Live Bet and Make Money highlights the advantage of live betting in terms of leveling the playing field, since everyone is watching at the same time. Similarly, every in-game move and action can be tracked as an eSports event unfolds. The industry must therefore work on improving speed and latency so servers and live feeds can capture the odds and data points as accurately as possible and prevent cheating.
The significant industry overlap between eSports and cryptocurrency can also be a critical element for the growth of live betting. Crypto wallets do not request personal information and are not mediated by third parties like banks, allowing wagers to be made in a safe and streamlined manner. Key players in eSports can benefit from partnerships with betting firms in order to regulate and institutionalize responsible betting—curbing the black market while also taking advantage of a new revenue stream.