eSports are an amazingly fast growing industry with viewership growing almost eight-fold in the last four years, this according to the digital games research firms called SuperData Research and Newzoo. This global rise in viewership has been mostly fueled by Western Markets. With SuperData’s April Digital Games Market Trends Brief highlighting the ongoing growing opportunity for both games and advertisers in the eSports space, and Newzoo’s latest free report called Sizing and Profiling eSports’ Popularity, just comes to show how many Western gamers come together and watch eSports, or be actual participants of eSports themselves. Both of the research firms confirmed that the total viewership of eSports has surpassed the 70 million mark in 2013, with the total amount of viewership doubling every year over. Nearly half of those viewers are from the United Sates, where males are the 70% frequent viewers and participants.
U.S. viewers of eSports are the most dedicated viewers, watching an average of 19 times a month over two hours at a time. With the increase of popularity of games like League of Legends, DOTA 2 and World of Tanks, the free-to-play market seems to be the boon of this industry. League of Legends alone garnered 32 million viewers for its Season 3 World Championship last October. This bring a major opportunity for advertiser to connect to developing youth, and affluent males. Not only PC and console games have benefited from these big spenders, but smartphones and tablets benefit as well.
Of eSports’ growing success, SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen said, “Large companies like Riot Games, Valve, Wargaming and Ubisoft are placing bets on the growing success of eSports worldwide. And with the booming popularity of streaming services like Twitch, ESL and MLG, it is becoming easier than ever for gamers to connect with other players and form communities that culminate in competitive gaming.”
Peter Warman, Newzoo CEO, on the relationship between free-to-play and eSports,
“Long established in Asia, eSports and free-to-play, have now broken out of their niche and into Western markets. Does this prove there is a direct relationship between the two phenomena? At Newzoo, we believe so. Time spend and engagement have become equally important KPIs as money spend, and that is essentially what eSports delivers”.