Why we decided to get involved and where the industry is at right now
In the last few years, our company has undergone big, exciting changes. And so has the esports industry as a whole. We are excited to give you a glimpse into the history of herosphere.gg and the development of the esports industry as a whole.
How we got into esports at herosphere.gg
In our beginnings, our goal was to re-introduce the social aspect to betting. We believed the current betting industry lacked the social aspect, which is why we started our sports prediction platform thesocialbet.
The original idea of thesocialbet was developed by our CEO, Paul Polterauer and current CTO Phil Peinsold who frequently had little challenges among friends and colleagues covering upcoming football matches and tournaments. It was not only a hassle to constantly collect the right amount of money and then spread it again among the winners, it was also tough to document all of it and calculate points. So he thought about digitalising the process and offering communities around the world the possibility to compete against each other, free of charge. In the course of time various sport titles, like tennis, ski etc., were added on thesocialbet.
When at the same time esports started to get massive attention, the team looked into possibilities to also include titles like League of Legends. It came naturally as Paul had and still has an affinity for StarCraft 2 and Phil for DotA. Creating esport content is not only enormously fun, but to be part of a growing industry and community was very appealing for all of us.
Eventually, thesocialbet developed into herosphere.gg and we moved from sport bets into the esports realm, featuring esport titles like League of Legends, CS:GO, and DotA2.
The esports industry grew to over 385 Million enthusiasts in 2017
According to Newzoo, a leading provider of market intelligence, over the past three years, the esports audience grew from roughly 235 million people worldwide in 2015 to over 385 million esports enthusiasts and occasional viewers around the globe in 2017. Studies conducted in 2016 in the United States showed that the majority of those interested in professional video gaming were men, while 19 percent were women. Overall, approximately 23 percent of esports viewers were between the ages of 25 and 34, with the largest group falling within the 18–24 age bracket.
The 2017 Intel Extreme Masters Katowice held in Poland, was the most watched esports event, with a recorded 46 million unique viewers. The event included competitions in Counter Strike, League of Legends and Starcraft. The second most viewed tournament was League of Legends World Championship in October 2016, with 43 million unique viewers. Furthermore, global esport awareness is expected to reach 1.8 billion people. Game publishers highly embed esports into their game clients and various communication channels jumpin on the train. Forecasts predict that by 2020 the total audience will almost hit an insane amount of 600 million, that being a compound annual growth rate of 20,1%.
The rising interest in esports and computer games in general is also depicted by the number of hours watched on twitch.tv, the leading live streaming video platform and a subsidiary of Amazon. Twitch had 20 million monthly unique visitors in 2012 and in 2015 that number grew to 220 million. In late 2016 it was measured that the majority of global Twitch users were male, with women accounting for 35 percent. At the same time, Twitch user age group distribution indicated that the majority of the platform users were between the ages of 16 and 24.
League of Legends is the most popular esports title
In January 2017, there were almost 100 million total hours of streamed League of Legends content on Twitch alone, with a competitive share of around 22%. Looking at the annual ranking there is no game that can even nearly reach the popularity of LoL, making it by far the most successful esports title. From October 2014 until July 2017 League of Legends has been unbeaten and the most watched game of the month, a straight winning streak of 34 months.
However, one of the most trending games of the last year PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which already sold over 30 million copies worldwide, was able to dethrone LoL and occupy the pole position in August 2017. In general, the so called “Battle Royale” genre is booming among esports fans, being represented within the top 10 by the titles PUBG (#2), Fortnite (#10, new) and H1Z1 (#9). Valves title DotA 2, despite its predecessor being the mother of all Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, could never catch up with the popularity of League of Legends, at least not until now.
LoL was released in October 2009 as a free to play title, introducing skins as revenue stream, with a user friendly interface and secured their market share when DotA was released in July 2013 it was already too late to catch up.
Tournaments have a growing fan base and prize pools
The most successful DotA 2 tournament was The International 2017, held from 02.08.2017–13.08.2017 with a total time watched (including Chinese viewers) of 509 499 779 hours across all media channels. During the event the game broke its own record on Twitch with more than 30M hours watched in week 32.
Another title of video game developer Valve and one of the most iconic esports games stands at rank 5 of the 2017 chart. All in all, 893 tournaments in Counter Strike Global Offensive, the figurehead of all competitive first-person shooters, were hosted within the last year, which makes CS the most active esports game, followed by Starcraft II with 608 tournaments.
In contrast to Call of Duty, which has over 28 million active players, CS:GO cannot reach half that number with almost 12 million players. Despite the big difference in active players there were only 72 CoD tournaments which were hosted in 2017, with a total prize pool of slightly more than $ 4 million. The only card game which can be found within the top 10 is Hearthstone, which is fun to play and watch, but many experts claim that the esports potential of the game is limited due to its high level of randomness and inconsistency. Nevertheless, there were around 70 million active players in March 2017.
In tournament prize pools, DotA 2 is leading
The graph above depicts the leading esports game by cumulative tournament prize pool in 2017. The peak of more than $ 38 million is a consequence of a brilliant marketing campaign by Valve, which at the same time offers cool features to the players. “Battle Pass” is a purchasable tournament pass and features a bundle of numerous in game quests, achievements, earnable rewards for its owner and access to an exclusive multiplayer campaign. 25% of the proceeds obtained from the Battle Pass are going towards the tournaments prize pool, comparable to crowdfunding. The most significant League of Legends tournament was the LoL 2017 World Championship with a prize pool of $ 4.9 million, which just like DotA 2 was generated though fan contribution but could not reach as high numbers as its competitor ( Website (esports-betting.pro). Leading eSports games worldwide in 2017, by cumulative tournament prize pool (in million U.S. dollars). https://www.statista.com/statistics/501853/leading-esports-games-worldwide-total-prize-pool/ (accessed March 7, 2018))
Both the number of major events and ticket revenues depict the rapid growth of the whole industry, as 424 events with a prize pool above $5.000 have been hosted in 2016 and the revenue generated through ticket sales exceeded $30 million.
Looking at the social media figures in March 2018 you see an esport athlete ranking among the top10 sports personalities with the most social media interaction for the first time. When only a month later he ranks number 1: Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is at the top — ahead of stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and LeBron James.
The American posts and streams game sessions of the popular video game Fortnite and, according to the sports sponsoring analyst “Hookit.com”, achieved a total of 150.3 million interactions (likes, comments, shares or views) on social networks in April.
Excited to be part of the game
Despite all facts & numbers we just love the games and esport events, so the excitement for herosphere.gg continues and grows even more with reaching another level when introducing the HEROcoin beginning of June.