An Introduction to the Growing World of Gaming and Esports

Rajiv Naidoo
Dec 29, 2020 · 9 min read

Global audience already surpasses that of many other professional sports

Gaming represents a truly global industry, inherently borderless, where an internet connection is enough to plug directly into vast ecosystems full to the brim with players. It’s projected that by 2023 there will be in excess of 3 billion people worldwide playing online games, almost 40% of the global population. Online gaming can be broken down into three major categories, PC, console and mobile, providing a number of different avenues to pursue gaming from the casual to competitive level. These three categories combined are projected to generate $196 billion revenues by 2022.

Source: Visual Capitalist

What are Esports?

As for viewership, esports has already surpassed that of many other professional sports, and is on track to reach 646 million by 2023.


Comparatively, esports were able to strive during the pandemic, with go to platform Twitch experiencing a 17% increase in viewership compared to the previous quarter (Q4 2019). Only 23.5% of events were outright cancelled, with 31.6% of events transitioning from LAN to online, with at-home esports viewers perceiving minimal changes to their experience.

2019 League of Legends World Champions at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France

Esports fans have also demonstrated a strong loyalty — out of 427 million total viewers, 200 million tuned in to watch the 2019 League of Legends Finals. This is compared to the 111 million viewers that the Superbowl was able to garner the same year. Although we may see a shift back to in-person events in a post-pandemic world, this highlights not only the resilience of esports, but the unparalleled accessibility to it at a global scale, even during unprecedented times.

Additional Viewership Information:

  • 557 million projected viewers by 2021
  • Total esport audience set to grow to 495 million in 2020 — YoY growth of 11.7%
  • 223 million considered enthusiasts (watch professional content +1 a month), compared to 272 occasional viewers (less than once a month)
  • By 2023, this number is expected to hit 646 million (351 million enthusiasts, 295 occasional)
  • 50% of viewers considered enthusiasts located in Asia Pacific.

Influencers & Icons


Highest Views: 8.8 M

Average Views: 600 K

Earnings: $1.8 million per year


Highest Views: 45 M

Total Views: 2.3 B

Earnings: +$500,000 a month from Twitch streaming alone


Highest Views: 20 M (Fortnite World Cup Win)

Average Views: +1 M

Notable Earnings: $3 million for winning Fortnite World Cup

Revenues & Earnings

Sponsorship and media rights are also growing within esports, by the end of 2020, $822.4 million is projected to be derived from sponsorship and media rights revenues, a 17.2% increase from the year prior.

What truly puts things in perspective is the winnings generated in esports in comparison to traditional sports. In 2019, the Valve International winners brought in a prize of $15,603,133. Split evenly between players, that would leave each with $3.1 million, which exceeds Tiger Wood’s Masters winnings ($2.07 million), and what Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep took home from Wimbledon ($2.9 million). The total prize for the winning team was $15,603,133, out of a $34,292,599 total pool.

Esports vs. Traditional Sports

Dr. Anthony Betrus, a professor of Educational Technology and Business at the State University of New York delivered a TEDx Talk addressing a number of fallacies associated with Esports, while drawing parallels between the competitive world of gaming and more traditional sports.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cortisol production induced during competitive esports by the brain is comparable to that produced by NASCAR drivers.
  • Heartbeats in-game can elevate to anywhere between 160–180 bpm, similar to that of a very fast sprint or running a marathon.
  • Reaction speeds seen in esports are comparable to what is seen in MLB players and NHL goalies
  • Mouse and keyboard movements mirror those observed by high level musicians , 6–7 movements per second, up to 400 movements on the keyboard/mouse per minute — 4 times as much as the average person. These rapid movements can be sustained for matches that can be anywhere up to an hour and a half in duration.
  • Injury is possible during esports, highlighting the taxing nature of competitive gaming. Some conditions observed included tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, back pain and retina fatigue
  • Programs are being developed for esports athletes to support health and athleticism
  • Federations have popped up globally to contribute to and support esports, such as NACE

Esports & Blockchain

“This new digital banking platform and payment network will combine all the capabilities of a bank account with a vast array of features that gamers and esports enthusiasts can embrace,” said Al Burgio, Founder and CEO of Zytara. “ZUSD, the Zytara stablecoin will form a quintessential link between the traditional banking system and the rapidly growing world of esports, driving adoption for cryptocurrencies and bringing all the benefits of blockchain to gaming. Users will be able to transact in real time, 24/7/365, streamlining payments and replacing cash with something much more powerful!”

Blockchains have the ability to bring some truly unique features to games, such as individual asset ownership and unique digital items in the form of NFTs. However, where the technology can truly make a difference is through the introduction of stablecoins, such as Circle’s USDC and Zytara’s ZUSD stablecoin. Stablecoins can benefit online gaming in four ways:

  1. Monetization of in-game currency
  2. Create entire in-game payment infrastructure
  3. New revenue opportunities for gamers
  4. Enhanced revenue opportunities for game developers

Esports and gaming currently lacks a payment solution that is truly borderless, without the level of friction experienced across the industry today. Epic Games recently ran into issues distributing a portion of its $100 million dollar prize pool for Fortnite tournaments. Many times, within industries such as esports where there are high levels of community interest, users are left with the feeling that non-endemic providers just don’t get it. A next generation payment solution that addresses the subtle nuances of the industry helps to create a sense of “built by gamers, for gamers.”

The benefits of stablecoins and other blockchain-based solutions as they pertain to esports will be explored further in subsequent documentation.

Brands Are Getting Into The Game Too!

Source: Nielsen

Here are some examples of how brands are getting involved:

“The Mastercard brand is known worldwide, and certainly we want brand presence with this audience. But most important is that we fit in the most authentic and engaging way with the audience,” said Cheryl Guerin, Executive VP of Marketing & Communications for North America, Mastercard. “Having a content series, and particularly one that was built by the community themselves — it was crowdsourced and features a number of the truly priceless stories that we’ve heard along our journey of this partnership, from the fans who are truly passionate about esports. Being able to feature them is much more authentic than only featuring our logo. It’s really important that we do this: that we bubble up priceless stories, and inspire others that are passionate about esports.”

Moving Forward

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DigitalBits is a protocol layer Blockchain designed to help…


DigitalBits is a protocol layer Blockchain designed to help facilitate mass market liquidity for various digital assets, and integrate with existing apps to drive market-adoption of Blockchain technology.

Rajiv Naidoo

Written by

Head of Research & Community @ DigitalBits


DigitalBits is a protocol layer Blockchain designed to help facilitate mass market liquidity for various digital assets, and integrate with existing apps to drive market-adoption of Blockchain technology.