Why is Esports Growing so Fast?
Esports as an industry has been growing at an exponential rate, in its financial scope, players and its audience. Here are a few reasons why esports has found such monumental growth over the past decade.
Faster and Better Internet Services
With a few offline exceptions, online esports would not be possible without high quality internet. While dial-up internet wasn’t enough to maintain fast paced online gameplay, the emergence and increased accessibility of LAN, broadband internet and high speed ethernet made it exponentially easier for people to host tournaments without forking over a fortune.
Accessibility of Adequate Technology
Rapid technological advancement has also led to improved affordability in technology that adequately meets the technical requirements to play online video games. With more people being able to buy PCs and consoles, it allowed them to find games that they are passionate about and participate in the esports scene, both as a player and spectator.
As mentioned later in this article, schools have also increased their involvement in esports. With the increased affordability in technology, schools have also been able to invest their budget into computers that can adequately run online video games.
More video games catered towards online esports
Continuing from the previous point, the increased quality and accessibility of high speed internet have allowed game developers to make video games meant to be played online. As early as 2014, World of Warcraft launched, which launched itself into the most popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) in the world, and is still popular today. Since then, countless more online games have been developed, which has led to many Esports scenes for those games.
On another note, video games themselves are being updated at a faster rate than ever. Video games have historically been released in physical copies, which leads to the inability for them to be updated if the game grows stale. Nowadays, online games are updated very frequently in patches. As an example, League of Legends has patches every two weeks, about 24 major updates in a year. These updates aren’t just number changes, they can add new characters, new items, gamemodes, and even revolutionary new mechanics.
The ever changing state of these games not only brings more players in, but it also keeps existing players involved, as these changes also give way to new strategies, which prevents players from ever feeling bored of the game.
More Interest in Spectating Esports
Just like any physical sport, a game with passionate players will naturally also have passionate spectators. Both YouTube and Twitch have filled those needs and thus have grown exponentially in popularity over time.
With Esports, Twitch is predominantly what comes to mind as the de facto live stream service, as it provides organizers the platform to broadcast their tournaments to a global audience. As Twitchtracker.com shows, global viewership of Twitch has increased more than 30 times since 2013, which would also lead to an increased amount of funding for more elaborate Esports tournaments in the future.
Although YouTube doesn’t serve as a direct influence towards the growth of Esports, it has served more of a symbiotic role. Even from 2018 to 2020, the hours of gaming content watched doubled from 50 billion to 100 billion hours. Growth in Esports has also garnered interest in watching more edited and structural content on YouTube, such as educational guides, tips and tricks as well as stream highlights of tournaments. As popularity for games increases, interest in its esports scene also goes up, which subsequently leads to an interest in further exploration of those games by watching YouTube content.
More recently, YouTube has also dipped its toes in the livestreaming industry, allowing streamers to broadcast their games on YouTube and Twitch simultaneously.
Increasing Funding, Partnerships and Sponsors
As the esports scene increases, so does the financial scope of its industry. Companies as large as the US air force, Coca Cola and Redbull have become official sponsors of esports. These sponsorships provide tournament hosts the financial means to expand their events to a global scale, often rivaling or even surpassing the scope of traditional sports. The financial expansion of esports naturally leads to increased exposure among the masses, thus more popularity and overall growth.
Esports as a Vehicle for STEM Skill Development
The benefits of playing video games have historically been unknown or perhaps even ignored. Nowadays, these benefits have gathered much more awareness, and are seen as a fantastic tool to help youths develop skills needed in STEM education, as well as the development of social emotional learning. In short, any skill-based game requires adaptability, a disciplined process of improvement and self awareness. Team-based games require more skills in teamwork, emotional regulation and a development for a sense of social responsibility. Here are more comprehensive details on how video games fill the STEM skills gap.
The awareness of such benefits in esports have made a notable impact upon those that are responsible for raising youths. Both parents and educators are now seeing esports as a vehicle to develop crucial career-defining skills, and thus are providing more opportunities for youths to explore esports as a developmental path.
Many places now offer esports involvement as early as middle school, as educators see the benefits to start the development of these skills earlier in life. As students grow older, more financially lucrative opportunities become available. A combined total of $16 million in college esports scholarships lay a potential path for teens to tread if they so choose to take their passion in video games to a professional degree.
As a youth esports organization, our coaches at Vanta Leagues ensure that players are getting the most out of their gaming experience.. Many of them have experienced the developmental benefits of video games as kids and are dedicated to supporting other players in their learning journey as well. If you are interested to learn more about what we offer, check out the offerings we provide, which include both free and paid services.