ESports has come a long way from talking smack at the pizza parlor and seeing who gets the highest score. From Atari’s Space Invaders tournament in 1980 to selling out the largest stadiums across the world, eSports is here to stay. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about this growing phenomenon.
- Revenue from eSports reached half a billion dollars in 2016.
- This year, it’s expected to really take off. The industry is projected to reach $1 billion in 2017.
- Can you get rich playing video games? Absolutely! The total prize money of all eSports events held in 2015 reached $61.0 million, a 70 percent year-on-year increase.
- It’s not just for the boys—22 percent of women say they’re involved in eSports, compared to 18 percent of men.
- Take me out to the shooter game—22 percent of millennial males watch eSports, which is the same amount that watch baseball.
- Brands who become involved in eSports through sponsorship or advertising know it’s a great way to reach a young crowd—61 percent of eSports viewers are under the age of 35.
- Mobile games are getting in on the action, too. In fact, mobile game developers who added competition to their games are experiencing eight times more average revenue per daily active user than the industry standard.
- Go team! There are an estimated 131 million eSports enthusiasts, and another 125 million who watch occasionally.
- Over 213 million people watched competitive gaming in 2016.
- The industry is on track to reach a global audience of 303 million by the end of 2019. That means that if eSports fans were a country, it would be the fourth largest in the world.
The world’s best gamers are considered athletes—household names to this highly sought after segment of consumers. Today, traditional athletes are investing in the eSports industry, too. One star—Brazilian soccer player Wendall Lira—even quit to pursue his dream of becoming a professional FIFA gamer.
Dennis Fong, eSports Hall of Fame inductee and founder of Raptr, believes that eSports will inevitably become an Olympic sport.
“It’s going to happen,” Fong told [a]listdaily. “The question is just when, and how long is it going to take? Is it a legitimate sport? Curling is an Olympic sport. Why in the world should a virtual sport that fills stadiums, and has tens of millions of viewers watching the finals, not be in the Olympics? The Olympics is also about money and prestige, not just about sport. When you look at the young global fan base eSports has today, they’re going to find a way to make it happen at some point.”
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