eSports: The $500 Million Cash Cow
The competitive video game culture is a force to be reckoned with.
The +70 million fans around the world who tune in to competitive gaming will generate nearly half a billion dollars by the end of 2016.
That’s insane and brilliant at the same time.
The incredible growth this industry has seen over the years is staggering.
I couldn’t believe millions of people across the globe could possibly be so invested in something as useless as a video game. But I’m not admonishing them for their enthusiasm. After all, I used to be a gamer myself.
My college days were filled with hours and hours of video games. ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Gears of War’, ‘Fable’, ‘Bioshock’, ‘Left 4 Dead’, the list goes on and I just kept plugging along. (Eventually, I got bored and found other things to fill up my time.)
Nevertheless, to some people, video games are an essential part of their life. Much like people all over the world who draw some of their identities from their favorite sports leagues and teams, so too do all of these gamers! They can’t help themselves. I guess everyone has their obsession…
But I’m not here to knock the industry. Far from it actually.
It’s a testament to the power of technology, the power of societal change, and the power of the people. In the capitalistic environment of South Korea and the US, it’s absolutely brilliant for entrepreneurs and gamers to see the writing on the wall and create a whole new lifestyle of competition and entertainment.
The internet enables international competition and viewership. Society is beginning to embrace video games and virtual reality as a part of life. And people vote with their dollars in the form of subscriptions and swag and eSporting events.
The only differences between traditional sports competitions and eSports are the venue and the ‘athletes’. Rather than spectating a team of physically adept individuals compete against one another in the real world, you see a team of mentally adept individuals compete against one another in the virtual world.
By far the best documentary to get a feel for the culture, this bit from VICE is worth the 67 minutes.