Although the term "e-sports" is already known worldwide, there are a multitude of concepts within this segment that are not so common. In order to better understand what e-sports are, which actors are involved in the industry and which elements comprise it, Señal News produced a basic guide with answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions about the phenomenon of video game competitions.
❶ WHAT ARE E-SPORTS?
"E-sports" is short for "electronic sports" and is the popularly known name for video game competitions structured by players, teams, leagues, publishers, organizers, broadcasters, sponsors and spectators. Other names are "competitive gaming", "organized play", "e-gaming" or "pro gaming".
❷ ARE E-SPORTS AND GAMING THE SAME THING?
No. While both terms refer to playing video games, they are two different things. E-sports are competitions structured under a mantle that is generally professional, and those who compete tend to dedicate themselves 100% to that discipline. Gaming, on the other hand, refers to a much more recreational activity, where competition also exists, but it is far away from the formality that a paid tournament, for example, could represent.
❸ WHICH VIDEO GAMES HAVE DEVELOPED E-SPORTS COMPETITIONS?
Electronic sports cover a large number of titles and, although the term e-sports seems to refer solely to sports, the reality is that video games in which people compete at a high level do not necessarily have to be of the sports genre. In fact, analysing the audience levels, currently the main video game competitions do not belong to this genre.
Among the most successful titles today are "League of Legends," "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive," "Fortnite," "Dota 2," "Hearthstone," and "Call of Duty".
❹ WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR GENRES?
Just like in the film or television industry, there are games of different genres. For e-sports competitions, the most popular types of games are First Person Shooter games (such as "Overwatch," "Counter Strike," "Call of Duty"), Real-Time Strategy games ("StarCraft,", "Warcraft"), Fighting games ("Mortal Kombat," "Street Fighter"), Sports games ("FIFA," "NBA2K") and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games ("League of Legends," "Dota 2 ”).
❺ WHERE CAN I WATCH E-SPORTS?
Although many traditional television channels are already beginning to notice the great appeal of e-sports, digital platforms are responsible for the vast majority of electronic sports broadcasts. Among them, Twitch is the best known and the one that leads the live streaming segment for e-sports. However, there are other options that are also very popular, like YouTube or Facebook Gaming.
❻ WHO CAN COMPETE IN AN E-SPORTS TOURNAMENT?
Anyone with a computer, a console, a copy of the game, and an Internet connection can participate in an e-sports tournament. In fact, most of the game modes that then become electronic sports are free.
However, as in sports, those who compete in e-sports tournaments are professionals who have spent years training and practicing, and who play at the highest possible level, something very difficult for the casual gamer to achieve.
❼ WHAT IS THE E-SPORTS AUDIENCE?
The e-sports market has grown in recent years, and more and more viewers are looking for streams of their favorite games being played by some of the best in the world. By 2020, it is forecasted that there will be 495 million e-sports viewers worldwide, a figure that will rise to 646 million in 2023. This is a significant increase compared to the 395 million of 2018, according to Statista’s data.
❽ WHO ARE THE ACTORS IN THE INDUSTRY?
As in any industry, there are several actors that take part and play a fundamental role in it. It could be said that the first and main ones are the publishers, who are the holders of the intellectual and industrial property rights of video games and franchises. In addition, they often organize their own competitions.
In a second line are the manufacturers of consoles and/or online services, such as Microsoft (Xbox), Nintendo, Sony (PlayStation) or Valve (Steam).
Organizers are the ones who design and host video game competitions. Some examples of international organizers are ESL or Gfinity.
The players, logically, are also a fundamental piece, since they are the ones who attend the competitions held by the organizers. Some players have become public figures due to the increasing popularity of those competitions. In this same line, professional e-sports teams can also be included, as they bring together the best players in the world.
Other actors that make up the industry are broadcasters such as Twitch or YouTube; the sponsors, which in the beginning were technological brands such as Intel or ASUS but later, with the increasing popularity of the sector, brands from other sectors such as Coca-Cola, Doritos, Mercedes or VISA also joined; development studies; the media; online services; and consultants, among others.
❾ WHAT IS THE ECONOMIC VOLUME OF THE SECTOR?
In this 2020, the global e-sports market is valued at over $1 billion US dollars, according to Statista. It is estimated that global e-sports market revenues will reach nearly $1.6 billion in 2023. Most of this revenue will come from sponsorship and advertising, with the remaining coming from media rights, publisher fees, merchandising and tickets, digital and streaming. In terms of revenue, Asia and North America are today the two largest e-sports markets, while China represents almost a fifth of the market.
❶⓿ WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF E-SPORTS?
Without a doubt, that of electronic sports in an industry that not only grows, but does so at a fast pace and shows no intention of stopping. An increasing number of games and players, revenues that grow month by month and the essential support of live streaming for the visualization and viralization of content make this an industry with a solid present and a more than promising future.