How has the pandemic affected your life?
With the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and imposed lockdown measures, many of us feel anxious and stressed. Plenty of us also feels sad and lonely, which makes it almost impossible for us to feel fortunate or lucky.
However, COVID-19 can’t ruin everything for us. Some people have started working out, some have finally learned to play the guitar, and some have simply been using their extra time to bond with their family.
The same can be said for business as well as individuals. While many businesses experienced hardships during the lockdown, some of them bloomed. Out of all the thriving online industries, none have been quite as successful as the esports industry. The esports market is practically showing the recession its middle finger as it continues to rise and evolve. Here's how the change happened.
But, before we start: what exactly are esports?
We define esports as professionally produced video game competitions and tournaments. The esports we know today began as amateur gaming tournaments and became a professionally managed business that is rapidly becoming a part of mainstream culture.
A brief history of esports
The first video game competition was held almost fifty years ago at Stanford University when students gathered to play a game called Spacewar. Video game tournaments started to gain popularity after that, and eventually, TVs started broadcasting them for the general populace.
After TV popularity, the next came the internet. With the introduction of video-streaming platforms such as Twitch, competitive gaming enabled everyone interested to enjoy online tournaments as spectators.
Competitive gaming became so popular that the global annual prize increased so much over the years and reached a whopping $327 million during the last year alone.
How did quarantine change the esports market?
If we could describe this year in one word, it would be uncertainty. Plenty of businesses suffered due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Luckily for the esports industry, tournaments can be played without a physical co-location of participants, so the industry didn’t suffer as much.
However, esports did suffer a bit. A vast majority of esports events are live events. But, with lockdown and safety measures regarding social distancing, plenty of matches got canceled, impacting the revenue that comes from selling tickets and merchandise.
People in quarantine are being forced to spend more time in front of their TVs, computers, and phones, which means they are now online more than ever. Activities such as video streaming and esports betting are skyrocketing, and people are playing video games like there's no tomorrow. What’s more, Verizon’s CEO Hans Vestberg told CNBC that overall internet gaming-related traffic has increased by 75% since restrictions were imposed in America.
Even though event-based revenues are going to drop, the future of the esports market is bright.
Everyone involved in the industry will have to remove the obstacles caused by the absence of live events and bring back the portion of that revenue differently. They will also have to find ways to cultivate and reinforce a strong gaming culture and be ready to attract and receive an influx of new participants.
Adaptability is the key to success
Quarantine imposed by COVID-19 has made the survival of the fittest everyone's new business model. Now, businesses have an excellent opportunity to examine their agility and adaptability in uncertain economic environments.
Good businesses are already adapting. For example, NASCAR changed its business model in a split second by announcing its switch to esport races. Furthermore, even the NFL, NBA, and FIFA are trying to make the most of their relationships with EA and 2K Games.
Esports are here to stay
Esports are here to stay. COVID-19 and quarantine have only opened new possibilities for its further development. All we need to do is jump on the train and see where it will take us.