Recently, over a million people from across the globe tuned in on various live streams, bars and home TV’s to watch a DOTA 2 tournament broadcast. As far as DOTA 2 is concerned this is a brilliant step forward towards gaining the viewing audience that they have dreamed of for quite some time. Yet, as eSports continues to improve and refine itself over various genres of games professional gaming has, in general reached a new high in audience numbers and engagement figures.
Previously, even perhaps only 3 to 4 years ago, eSports was viewed by a majority to be incredibly selective, with only small concentrated audiences and sponsors. We only need to think back to Quake, Starcraft and Unreal Tournament to know that whilst crowds did tune in to watch their online heroes compete, the figures were often restricted to the hardcore dedicated fan base of the various games and teams invested within them.
However, many have now realized that there is a new audience to professional gaming, thousands of people sitting down at night to watch the latest starcraft 2, LoL and DOTA players despite perhaps not even owning the game, or having very little experience with it. Many have attributed this to the exchange of FPS heavy tournaments to more viewer friendly and entertaining MOBA or RTS style of gaming which has developed rapidly over the previous couple of years. The decline in broadcast TV has also been seen as an attributing factor. Perhaps the last great dip in eSports was the failed attempts to gain a national televised audience. The collapse of several gaming channels such as, “Gaming Network” and, “Xleague.TV” in the UK alongside poor viewing figures for the SKY ONE championships 3 years ago were concluded to be a sign that eSports was never going to amount to much on a wide level. Yet Youtube and Twitch have altered this, with gaming now branching out to millions internationally via live streams thus allowing the goals and aims of many sponsors and gamers to shift from the televised to the digital market.
eSports seems to have found a place that works on a positive loop, whilst it has not and may never will never reach the viewing levels of Premiership football or Formula 1 racing, it does not need to in order to be successful. The increasing complexity of the gaming market twinned with more and more people being brought up with the gaming world allows us to suggest that, hopefully, eSports will continue to slowly, and gradually, thrive on the world stage. With events such as the LoL and Black Ops 2 world champions gaining huge attention not only for gamers but for viewers. We can but cross our fingers and hope that this upward trend continues.
Do you believe that eSports will continue to grow? Or are we just caught up in a fresh craze?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.