In our childhoods, we fantasized about being paid to play the games we love. Today gaming is a very serious business, meaning that such a dream can be a reality for the truly hard working and talented gamers. According to Forbes, “esports has exploded worldwide, and with it, there’s an entire class of 15-30-year-olds who now play games for a living.” So what exactly does it mean to be a pro-gamer?
Pro-gamer is someone who uses esports as their sole source of income. Esports are defined as organized video game competitions that include cash prizes. It is the cash prizes that allow gamers to quit their day job. But this also means to earn a living, pro-gamers must win, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The Symbiotic Relationships of Esports
Esports create mutual benefits for gamers and companies, thus allowing it to be such a booming industry. One of the highly appreciated benefits that differentiate esports and physical sports is the flexibility of location. Pro-gamers are allowed to work from home, where sports teams are tied to expensive venues and physical travel. This is not to say that esport venues don’t exist and that pro-gamers don’t travel – but it’s not necessary.
Another highly appreciated benefit is, of course, the money generated from playing the game and sponsors affiliations to the revenue created. Sponsorship is the bedrock of esports success. Companies will back specific teams or players, and during the gameplay, company sponsored ads will run in at the top and sides of the screen. Esports competitions receive such high traffic that it amounts to a marketing treasure trove.
Did we mention that there is no gender discrimination in esports? Professional gaming is one of the only areas in the professional world where women and men can compete equally. Oh yes, esports is an equal opportunity profession, and women have quickly come to dominate the screen in certain games. For example, “Katherine “Mystik” Gunn made $22,000 playing “Dead or Alive 4,” but made the big bucks taking home the championship prize playing Halo: Reach,” according to Business Insider.
Several benefits exist for companies involved with esports. For gaming companies, the most advantageous benefit is the amount of revenue generated from the popularity of their games. Tencent Games, for example, a company who develop League of Legends, Smite and Monster Hunter Online, has made the most money in the industry with $246.35 billion market capitalization. They are followed by Nintendo with $42 billion market capitalization due to the popularity of Pokemon Go.
Esports also create benefits for other digital platforms such as Steam, a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation. Platforms offer digital rights management, multiplayer gaming, and social networking services. Until the beginning of 2017, Steam has had 9 million concurrent users and 125 million accounts.
For other types of companies, one of the most advantageous benefits is the unique opportunity to sponsor a player or a team to market their brand. For example, Coca Cola and American Express sponsor League of Legends Championship Series. This allows major corporations to get involved and support the booming esports industry, while also maintaining their own competitive advantage.
Streaming companies like YouTube also benefit from the high popularity of gaming related channels by generating advertising revenues. YouTube is a main go-to platform to replay championship game tournaments or learn new tactics for getting an edge in gameplay. Channels promote individual players who both compete for professional and entertainment purposes. In some circumstances, players can make more money from ad revenue connected to videos that can be raised in major tournaments.
Impact of Esports off the Battlefield
It is no secret that esports have played a significant role in the world of technology. It has created revenue and new job types, but there are also professions that you wouldn’t imagine are necessary for the esports industry. For example, there are esports psychologists and nutritionists who work for top teams to keep players healthy in both body and mind. Gaming may seem like a fun way to make a living, but the job can be stressful and taxing on players. Teams look to protect their players by providing services to keep them in top condition.
It has been suggested that esports is projected to play an even more significant role in the future for brand building and marketing. Moreover, esports will also have a greater impact on the streaming industry as the number of esports teams’ fans grow, not to mention the gaming industry’s jump to television. Fans en masse have begun to enjoy dedication and loyalty towards their favorite team much like in typical physical sports. By recognizing the current esports trends and seeing great potential, developers, investors, and other businesses can be well prepared to cultivate this gold mine in the future.
Insight for Game Developers
For game developers, or those who want to begin developing games that could be considered for esports, there are topics to be considered in order to successfully monetize an online game:
#1. Consider choices to be made at the game development stage.
This includes choices regarding advertising and competitor analysis.
#2. Don’t underestimate the significance of in-play purchases.
To generate revenue by making the players pay in order to accelerate their progress or improve their odds of succeeding is big business. Therefore, user-friendly payment methods have to be considered.
#3. Don’t forget the legal issues that may arise regarding user-generated content and other technicalities.
Address these issues early and often. Many games have been brought to their knees from technicalities rather than actual gameplay and popularity.
#4. Make sure your cloud server provider offers scalable architecture with international reach to attract the widest possible audience and maximize revenue opportunities.
Don’t limit your potential by capping the amount of growth your game can endure. By choosing a cloud service provider who works to help you grow can accelerate your success further down the line.
How far has gaming come from the very early days? Could anyone have ever anticipated the gaming industry’s success? Did you?