Esports is a thriving global industry in which professional video gamers compete. In the same way where traditional sports include tournaments in baseball, basketball and football, e-sport involves competitions in a wide range of video games.
E-sports – Startups are changing the way games are played, information is gathered, and knowledge is shared.
In the last decade, eSports – organized, online, video game tournaments – have become very popular. The emergence of eSports as a modern source of entertainment has touched every corner of the globe, as the gaming industry has consolidated its success in the Asian market, while still storming the West.
One of the biggest esports events of the year, the League of Legends World Championship
Record breaking viewers each year for League of legends
More spectators watched 2016 World Finals of League of Legends (43 million viewers) than the NBA Finals Game 7 that year (31 million viewers).
In 2018, 99.6 million people watched the finals by breaking the 2017’s finals viewer record. With its competitive framework and digital platform, the e-sports industry is promising a multitude of possibilities for monetization.
The League of Legends World Championship (Worlds) has witnessed relatively impressive growth since 2017. Across Twitch and YouTube, Worlds 2019 enjoyed an incredible rise, both in terms of overall viewer hours (+40 per cent) and cumulative concurrent viewership (+44 per cent) at all levels of the competition.
From 25th of September to 31ST of October, The 2020 League of Legends World Championship was held in Shanghai, China. It is the 10th World Championship for League of Legends, an esports tournament for the video game developed by Riot Games. Twenty-two teams from eleven regions have qualified for the tournament on the basis of their location in regional circuits, such as China, Europe , North America, South Korea and Taiwan / Hong Kong / Macau / Southeast Asia, with ten of those teams getting to join the major “groups” event via play-in.
How did the gaming and e-sports move to next level during Covid-19 confinement?
COVID-19 lockdowns have increased user interaction in video games and e-sports. Revenues for many game businesses and platforms have improved since the pandemic. The pandemic is accelerating the emerging trends in the gaming industry.
Despite the widespread economic damage caused by coronavirus, the global video game industry is booming. In the practice of social distancing from restricting customer and limiting the business activities, gaming provides an enticing diversion for people at home looking for social engagement, and the initial evidence reveals a huge increase in play time and sales since the confinement began.
Positive impact of Confinement on E-sports:
A research by PwC earlier this year showed that more than two-thirds of under-35 year-olds played or watched gaming content during the lockdown, while more than half were specifically open to watch gaming or e-sports.
This has been reinforced by research from the online streaming industry. Stream Hatchet, an analytics company, analyzed by viewing the developments of gaming streams on Twitch, Twitter, Facebook and Mixer in the second quarter of 2020, reporting that ‘watch hours’ jumped from 4.8 billion in Q1 to 7.6 billion in Q2, when many countries entered the Covid-19 confinement period.
According to the survey, Twitch alone leapt from 3.1 billion watch hours in Q1 to 5.1 billion in Q2, with its total concurrent watching increasing from 1.4 million in Q1 to 2.4 million in Q2.
Another research, reported by StreamElements and Arsenal.gg in May, looked at the overall viewing time ( i.e. not just games) on the same four streaming platforms: Twitch, Twitter , Facebook and Mixer. It estimated that more than 3.9 billion hours were watched in April alone: up 99 percent year-on-year.
While the industry has already gained traction this year, sheltering-in-place has certainly given it an extra boost,” said StreamElements. That’s a significant point: Covid-19 boosted video gaming and e-sports watching online, but it was already rising well in 2020 before the pandemic hit.
However, the acceleration is obvious. “In almost every Twitch statistic we’ve looked at, from hour-watched and monthly livestreamed channel totals to livestream viewing stats and the language-based changeout of weekly Twitch use, there was a drastic relative increase beginning in March compared to the previous six months,” said IDC Gaming Research director, Lewis Ward, in June.
Also encouraging: the early breakdown of professional sports leagues has given rise to the involvement of certain league organizers in running sports competitions and broadcasters in broadcasting them.
NASCAR has averaged more than 1.3 million spectators per event for its virtual race series in March and April, while football, basketball and Formula 1 have also seen popular competitions, some featuring professional sportsmen participating and competing with non-sporting celebrities and gaming streamers.
24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual – the biggest sim racing event
Held last weekend on 13-14 June, the first ever virtual version of the 24 Hours of Le Mans has registered huge audience viewing figures and online viewing, smashing previous records for a stand-alone motor racing esports event.
The game event, a joint venture of the ACO, FIA WEC and Motorsport Games, brought together 200 drivers from 37 different countries to participate in 50 entries (30 LMP and 20 GTE) on 170 simulators worldwide on the iconic Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans, France.
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and no track action due until July, with the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans being postponed until 19-20 September, it was agreed to stage an esports event that brought together the world’s best professional drivers and teams with the elite of sim racing itself. Rebellion Williams Esport won the event, with the Porsche Esports Team taking the GTE category victory.
On global networks such as Eurosport, ESPN, Sky Sports and J-Sports, a massive collective audience of over 14.2 million enjoyed the 25-hour broadcast in 57 different countries worldwide. Over 8.6 million views on Facebook , YouTube and Twitch were obtained online through the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. It raises the figures well above all previous championship records, with cumulative social media impressions of nearly 49 million.
Nowadays, most of the new startups are B2C-oriented. It’s very clear, most of the founders want to address the problem they face every day:
- Where to find e-sports games schedule?
- How to bet on e-sports competitions?
- How to improve my skills as a gamer?
Tournaments that anyone can participate are a fascinating development in e-sports, and there are hundreds of different organizers.
ESL One is an esports gaming tournament for esports gamers. It enables gamers to participate in the tournament of various esports games such as Dota 2, CS: GO, Battlefield 4, and more. ESL One features competitions between the best Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams in the world. This is esports at its highest possible level: hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money are put on the line each year, with events taking place in legendary venues all across the globe. Enthusiastic crowds and top-tier esports action – ESL One in a nutshell.
Super League is a gaming company organizing eSports tournament. It hosts recreational video game leagues in movie theaters. Players have to bring their computers to battle each other while the contest is broadcast on the big screen. It supports various games such as League of Legends, Minecraft, and Clash Royale. It is in the partnership with the theater chain Cinemark USA Inc and game publishers.
Esportsquare is a platform to organize and participate in video game competitions. More than 3000 tournaments organized for more than 35000 players.
E-sports Betting platform:
Betting sites are one of the most noisy areas of the wave. They are often legally speaking, borderline, but they are still very common.
Created in 2014, Unikrn runs a e-sports betting platform around the globe, enabling users to gamble on sports matches much like professional sports.
There is also Unikrn Streamer Betting, a risk management solution that uses AI trading bots with game analysis and screen-reading integrations to set esports odds creation in real-time. The idea is to let viewers bet on top streamers’ gameplay on platforms such as Twitch, with fully-automated odds. Streamer Betting is available today on four continents.
“This is just about increasing the engagement for those who like to watch streaming”, said Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood.
Midnite is a betting platform tailored for the esports fan. Bet on your favorite teams, stream matches directly from the platform, and level up your match day experience. Midnite is reimagining the esports betting experience to bring fans closer to the games they love.
AlphaDraft give eSports fans the chance to play fantasy leagues and place bets on big eSports events.
Innovation in Gaming
Hundreds of innovative gaming technology have evolved in just a couple of years. For instance, VR gaming, a technology that transfers you to the game world (or transfers this environment to you), is the most popular one. Augmented reality games have also been a real buzz of late. Remember the Pokemon Go hype, a game that enabled you to connect with cartoon characters that appear right in front of you while you’re in the park or at a store somewhere?
Do you know that gaming startups are the authors of the most innovative technologies?
Now, let ‘s address the most influential startups in game development who have changed the world of gaming to inspire you.
Sphero is focusing on the technology of connected toys. When it comes to learning, this one is particularly useful, so most games developed by Sphero are for children. The applications are related to robotics and provide a truly unbelievable artistic experience. A robot that moves when operated by a mobile device is the first project of that kind, and this is the product of Sphero.Later, a great deal of such toys-to-life was created. Sphero, however, focuses less on entertainment and more on learning, so sphero toys inspire children from a very young age to understand coding.
Lucid Light is behind a package for the production of advertising software that enables gaming companies to monetize their products. The SDK lets developers view their games on special platforms that are suitable for VR. In this way, they can produce and display free and affordable items without losing a VR effect that can be lost on a laptop or tablet. Lucid Light believes that there should be free and high-quality virtual reality games and does everything for that.
Official game of the Vendée Globe, Virtual Regatta is the largest nautical community in the world with more than 1 million active players!
Virtual Regatta is a free online sailing and regatta sailing simulation video game where you can become the skipper of your boat and face the “winds of the globe”. Race against hundreds of thousands of rivals in real time and take on Vendée Globe sailors like Boris Herrmann, Sam Davies and Alex Thomson from your computer, smartphone or tablet.
Virtual Regatta is an official partner of the World Sailing Federation, with which Virtual Regatta co-organizes all existing official eSailing events.
Official game of the biggest sailing races: Vendée Globe, Route du Rhum, Transat Jacques Vabre, Solitaire Le Figaro, take the helm of your boat and compete against the biggest names in ocean racing in Virtual Regatta!
The Global Federation of Esports teams with the Sports Innovation Lab
As a global supporter, the Global Esports Federation (GEF) has named the technology and research company Sports innovation lab.
As a result of the collaboration, the Sports Innovation Lab will aim to grow the portfolio of GEF events using its knowledge and expertise.
In partnership with the likes of the NFL , NBA, and Intel, Sports Innovation Lab has created innovative fan experiences by offering a variety of data and insights to brands to assist in their decision making.
The world leading publishers are joining the GEF
In an effort to develop the e-sports further, Capcom, Konami and Sega enhance the GEF’s #worldconnected initiative.
International E-sports Federation:
The goal of the IESF is to encourage esports on a global scale. This is done around the world along with our national federations. The IESF works toward a world where athletes from Esports will compete at the same level and with the same support as traditional sports athletes.
Today, the game industry is attracting a large number of investors and various studios are emerging across the globe. The rivalry is unbelievable, so start-up ventures can only be good if they have something cool and creative to present. The rivalry is driving the start-up gaming industry ahead. As a result, aiming to stand out from the crowd, start-up ventures have given rise to a range of wonderful innovations.
So developments such as augmented reality, emotional recognition, big data analytics, and associated toys are their main domains of expertise. This way, a new company that intends to enter the market should have high technological expertise as well as something close to its predictive capability. The future of the gaming industry is already here and technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace. So keep up and good luck with them!
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