Gone are the days when esports (eSports(in English) and online video game streaming were not taken seriously. Now this global industry, valued today at 2,100 million dollars (1,769 million euros at the exchange rate), is advancing by leaps and bounds and by 2025 it will grow by 70%, reaching a value of 3,500 million dollars (3,000 million euros), according to the last study from the research firm Juniper Research. The number of viewers will grow in parallel with the millionaire earnings. It will close this year with an audience of 800 million people, but the study projects more than a billion viewers by 2025, that is, one in eight people worldwide.
“The report reveals two key areas. First, that the live broadcasting of electronic sports increasingly involves professional gamers and second, that online video games, whether live or pre-recorded, have also conquered occasional viewers and not exclusively amateurs ”, assure sources of the company.
Esports are multiplayer video game competitions (multiplayer, in English) in which professional players participate who usually play all kinds of games, although among the most common are those of real-time strategy, first-person shooter and online battle arenas. Analysts predict that market value will be driven by subscription spend to streaming platforms and ad spend on broadcasts, as well as broadcast rights, sponsorship deals, and ticket sales for live events ( when the coronavirus pandemic allows it, of course).
The study has also confirmed the leadership of the Asia-Pacific region in this industry. More than 50% of viewers in 2025 will be Asian. “There will be growth in all regions, however, the Asian countries led by China, Japan and South Korea have historically seen greater acceptance of digital services and eSports they have not been different, ”explains Sam Baker, study co-author and principal analyst at Juniper Research. However, other regions such as Latin America will make an important leap. Analysts forecast more than 130 million Latin American viewers in the next four years.
The stage: Twitch and YouTube
“Successful streaming platforms will be those that can accommodate differences in geographic regions by including locally popular streamers and game titles in esports events,” suggests Saidat Giwa-Osagie, co-author of the report. And platforms like Twitch and YouTube have already taken notice.
Born for the online broadcasting of video games and esports, Twitch is living its golden years. This platform, owned by Amazon, increased the number of hours consumed by 83% in 2020: from 9,000 million in 2019 to 17,000 in 2020, according to figures provided by the marketing company Warc.
But the platform has opened its doors to a more varied universe of users. It’s not just professional video game players or esports consumers that are there anymore. Now it is also a varied political, journalistic and entertainment platform with a thriving Spanish and Latin American market. A few weeks ago, the platform announced that had surpassed 1,100 million channels in Spanish on Twitch.
Along the same lines, YouTube, the undisputed king of video, has also joined the industry of online video games and electronic sports. For this year, the research firm Newzoo has revealed to The Verge that esports on the platform will have an audience of 557 million, thus positioning itself as the strongest competition for Twitch. The company has more than 2 billion monthly registered users and some 500 hours of content uploaded every day.
“YouTube already has a large user subscriber base, while Twitch created a niche area for eSports and casual game streaming. We expect both platforms to grow as event planners from eSports seek to capitalize on a substantial user base to increase the audience for their events ”, predicts Barker.