The eSports industry is on track to be the next big money maker for video games and technology. Global eSports revenue is expected to reach $1 billion in 2019 as more companies get involved in the lucrative business of professional video game tournaments.
What’s remarkable about this growing industry, however, is that its influence goes far beyond encouraging gamers to go pro as eSports can actually give rise to new careers that simply didn’t exist before.
Hardware and Software
The most obvious areas that the eSports industry impacts are in the video game development and peripherals markets. Companies like Razer have seen a huge boon to their business thanks to eSports. Not only has Razer created a smartphone for gamers, but it also sells a range of microphone headsets, keyboards, mice, mouse mats, and gaming laptops.
All of these products are designed for gamers to play their games in style and in comfort. Razer and its competitors, such as Corsair, HyperX, Logitech, Turtle Beach, and ROCCAT all stand to make bank by selling products to gamers and the people who broadcast them. These thriving businesses will need to hire accordingly, including eSports outreach specialists and experts who know how to make products that suit the eSports markets.
On the software side, game developers are finding that there is a lot to be gained in establishing their titles as new eSports avenues. Games like multiplayer shooter Overwatch recently launched its eSports initiative, Overwatch League, Riot Games hosts international tournaments for its game League of Legends, while Tencent’s Honor of Kings also has a thriving eSports scene in China. The success of these games can encourage the next generation of game developers who want to make a game that would work on the eSports stage too.
Non-Traditional Gaming Companies
In addition to these hardware and software gaming companies, many non-traditional brands are also beginning to get involved with eSports too. A prime example of this are the universities and colleges who have launched esports-related scholarships or programs, putting together eSports teams and even paying the students who enroll.
In the United States, some of the colleges with eSports programs include the University of California, Irvine, the University of Pikeville, and Columbia College. According to the British Esports Association, some UK-based universities getting involved with eSports include the University of York, the University of Leicester, and Staffordshire University. Players can become professional video game players, which is a career path many were only dreaming of several years ago.
The growth of eSports has also led to eSports betting as bookmakers for traditional sports have now gotten into the eSports game. These include brands such as Betway, which offers odds on a variety of professional eSports tournaments including the EU and NA LCS for League of Legends, the ESL Pro League for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and the Epicenter tournament for DOTA 2. This allows eSports viewers and fans to interact in new ways with something they love; this is an entirely new market created by eSports.
Another even more unlikely eSports brand is Toyota, the car manufacturer. Toyota recently announced that it has become a major sponsor of the Overwatch League and would be working with Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment in order to create a “premium experience” for fans. It’s unclear exactly what the partnership will entail but, again, Toyota could inspire gamers and technology fans to join its ranks in an effort to improve these partnerships and make more of them happen.
Streamers and Broadcasters
Hundreds of millions of people enjoy watching eSports and that means that there needs to be someone emceeing and presenting the action, hence, being an eSports caster is now a serious career path. According to some estimates, the average salary for an eSports caster is $60,000 per year, though this can go as high as $115,000 depending on experience. Being a caster is a solid career move for someone who enjoys presenting and knows a lot about popular eSports games.
As the figures show, eSports can grow plenty more yet, meaning that even more new roles and careers could be required in order to make the industry thrive. With eSports having such mass appeal, there will be plenty of tuned in games and viewers ready to get involved.