With GamesCom 2019 fast-approaching, the gaming industry gave the world a timely reminder last weekend that eSports is to be taken seriously.
Some may argue that the genre has overpromised and underdelivered in the past, with success being short-lived and very few gamers enjoying any kind of ‘stardom’ or even recognition in the real world. But all that looks set to change.
Last weekend’s Fortnite World Cup in New York attracted not only a huge prize pool of $30m, but also huge mainstream media attention. Concurrent viewership peaked at 2.3m across both Twitch and YouTube, making it the most-watched eSports event ever outside China – and those figures don’t include people watching from within the game or on other streaming platforms. All major news channels and publications also covered the event.
Analysts at Newzoo estimate over 380 million people watched eSports in 2018, and expect that figure to rise to 550 million by 2021. Whether those audiences are watching Fortnite, Counter-Strike or Call of Duty, the numbers make interesting reading for traditional sports event organisers and broadcasters keen to hold onto the youth market.
The Fortnite solo final saw 16-year-old American Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf take home a cool $3m. Compare this to the $2.07m Tiger Woods took home for his recent Masters win, or Djokovic’s $2.98m for Wimbledon 2019, and you see just how big the business eSports has become.
At Gravity Media, we’re no strangers to eSports either. We’ve been active in this market since Day 1, having been the first production company ever to work out how to bring a game into a TV workflow – including overcoming the challenge of region-specific encoding. Ever since, we’ve been an integral part of the industry’s continuing rise, supporting the likes of ESL, Faceit, PGL, Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Ubisoft and GFinity at some of the biggest live gaming events on the planet.
This year, we’re exhibiting at GamesCom for the first time, where we’ll be catching up with tournament organisers, publishers and production houses from across the eSports world. To understand how we can support you with your eSports event and production plans, drop in to see us at Stand C054a, Hall 2.1, or arrange a meeting via the Matchmaking365 app (we’re listed as ‘Gravity Media’).