PwC US has released a report assessing the overall esports industry from a number of different angles with a focus on awareness, viewership and opportunities for companies looking to move into the space.
There have been various assessments of the industry’s growing value, and this one states that there’ll be a 43% leap from 2015 to a total revenue of $463m (£321.7m) expected in 2016.
The results are based on an extensive three month campaign and bring together the responses of over 750 respondents.
Arguably one of the key takeaways from the report is the shattering of the stereotype of the ‘typical gamer.’ The report found that the typical esports consumer is young, racially diverse, tech-savvy and often female. According to PwC, 22% of women say they’re involved with eSports versus 18% of men. While the difference is relatively small, it indicates an early trend that women may be just as, if not more, engaged with esports than their male counterparts.
Where viewing as opposed to playing is concerned, men are playing slightly more than women, and men appear to watch from a competitive lens, while women appear to watch for enjoyment and for the social aspect of the viewing experience.
The report also made the judgement that viewers are just as vital as the players. PwC aimed to ascertain viewership habits and found that one in five watch weekly, with the general esports consumer averaging 19 days of viewing per year. In terms of demographics Asian and Hispanic viewers tended to watch more frequently (27 days and 23 days respectively), whilst in terms of device of choice 57% of respondents stated that they watched on a laptop or desktop computer.
The most favorable genre of game to watch is first-person shooter games with a huge 63%, followed-by multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) at 37%. Viewership in general is increasing all the time too, and current consumers of esports are predicted to either maintain or increase their level of involvement in the next year in terms of viewership (83%) and participation (72%).
This expansion has seen more and more sponsors involving themselves in the space and far more establishing and seeking out potential opportunities. One reason for this is undoubtedly the potential it has for reaching millennials; 68% of PwC’s respondents who stated that they’ve watched a competitive game were under 35.
In addition to sponsorship more and more companies are setting themselves up as part of the widening and growing esports industry. In addition to the teams, organisations, game developers and publishers, there are betting platforms such as Unikrn, talent agencies such as Stark Esports, events companies such as Gfinity, fantasy sports operators and tech companies too such as B2B platform provider Esportsfield.
Bookmakers are making moves too and a partnership between Fnatic and Dafabet marked the first between a major organisation and a major bookmaker late last year, and you can be sure that more will follow.
Opportunities abound in esports across multiple angles and its potential is still vastly untapped. It’s an industry full of passionate and loyal consumers, but companies must also be sure to know their audience before launching into anything.
Fully analysing reports such as this one by PwC, proper planning and a in-depth understanding of both the title they’re marketing (such as League of Legends or Dota 2 for instance) and that specific community are vital if a company is to succeed in this space.
It’s helpful too to note that esports are not traditional sports and should not necessarily be compared. Fans tend to follow the title itself and quality content far more than a specific team or player, this is not to say there are not ardent fans of the likes of Evil Geniuses or Cloud9 but it’s an important distinction.