Esports is something of a global phenomenon. What started off as a niche pastime for adolescents has snowballed into a multi-billion dollar industry, opening up careers for thousands. It offers a good opportunity for almost any business to reach a wide range of digital consumers. Plus, for traditional media and entertainment companies, esports offers a way to expand their content portfolio and create new revenue streams through broadcast events or shows. Praised for uniting the passion and skill of traditional sports with the digital age, esports is not just a business move, but something that offers tangible benefits to students.
With the global esports market bound to a path of continued success, opportunities will only increase. BCC Research expects the market to reach $3 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% during the forecast period of 2022-2027.
What makes the esports industry so successful?
Aptly so, the esports landscape is highly competitive. New product launches, alliances, extensions, and ventures are common. With around 261 million audience members tuning into an esports game monthly in 2022, the opportunity for companies is clear – but what’s driving the continued growth of the industry?
For one, live streaming has been a major catalyst for esports. It’s broken down the boundaries of mobile gaming, creating gaming experiences that appeal to a wide audience across borders. Streaming also transforms tournaments into something accessible to the masses. This has helped propel viewership into the millions, increasing people’s awareness of what esports is. While not all streamers are related to esports, streaming has undoubtedly contributed to its popularity. In the coming years, over 300 million people are expected to watch competitive matches via live streaming. On-demand streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube create a huge amount of value by broadcasting live events and tournaments.
Educational opportunities for esports
Esports also offers tangible opportunities in educational settings. Teachers have observed significant improvements in key skills like problem-solving, analytical skills, creativity, cooperation, initiative, attention, and communication. Besides skills, games can be used to teach different subjects. For example, in 2020, the Polish government announced the 11-bit Studios video game This War of Mine would be included on the official high school reading list, making the game available free of charge to aid the teaching of certain subjects. Since 2009, Schoolnet Europe (a network of 34 European Ministries of Education) and Interactive Software Federation Europe (ISFE) have collaborated for Games in Schools, a teacher training project across Europe. The use of commercial video games as educational tools takes place across Europe, demonstrating esports solid place in education.
With esports offering students the chance to compete nationally, access scholarships, and engage with communities, it becomes an incredibly mutually beneficial investment.
The associated risks
While esports offers tangible benefits, it also carries some risks that need to be considered. Eye fatigue and sleep deprivation, otherwise known as computer vision syndrome, can be common in competitive e-athletes. Caused by prolonged and focused screen exposure, esports is a particular culprit of the condition, as competitive games involve frequent eye movements and constant focusing, which reduces blink rates and contributes to eye strain for e-athletes. To combat this, esports teams must be equipped with specialized blue light-blocking eyeglasses. Platforms like Twitch and YouTube can also help raise awareness of the dangers.
In the same vein, esports is a sedentary sport. Although esports causes players to have increased heart rate and blood pressure, it still involves sitting still for hours at a time. Bad gaming posture can cause neck and back pain, which can have a range of knock-on health effects. With the necessary tools, esports athletes can compete safely, with monitor stands and ergonomic chairs being of particular benefit.
People who live a more sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, this is not unique to esports. There’s a lot of conflicting documentation about the physical activity of e-athletes. Researchers found that 40% of e-athletes did not engage in any physical exercise – but encouraging esports athletes to exercise and maintain healthy habits is all within the realm of possibility. Healthy lifestyles should be actively encouraged across the industry.
Turn on your A-game with cutting edge market research
BCC Research’s recent report breaks down the market opportunities for esports. Including five-year forecasting and an evaluation of the competitive landscape, the report provides the perfect guide for breaking into the world of esports. Download your complimentary report overview, or purchase the report in full here.