Whilst sporting events around the world have been postponed and cancelled, the majority of esports have managed to continue without any delay – whilst this is largely due to the platform and the fact professional games can be played online without the need for different teams or individual players to come together, there are also other reasons for the success in esports over this period.
The biggest change has been with a growing audience outside of what would usually be expected – the assumption for many is that the gaming audience is largely teen males, but this has been changing quickly as an older audience has also found a growing interest in gaming as a whole – with other sports being cancelled it has led to many of this growing older audience to viewing one of the many esports tournaments that have been held over the past two or three months.
Another important factor has been with the diversity of what’s available – although the big three names in DoTA2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike are the competitive names many look toward for esports, there has been a growing scene across a number of different titles over the past few years as the infrastructure for them has started to develop. Most recently this can be seen in Valorant, as a Twitch Rivals competition was kind of the kick off point for the new game looking to enter esports, showing how popular even a new release can be.
The introduction of more common practices have also helped here, in esports this has namely been found in betting – Counter-Strike really kicked this off by picking up a big betting operator as a sponsor, but has very quickly spread throughout esports. There are some challenges to overcome as regulation may make this more difficult – in the UK recently a credit card ban on all online betting had been issued alongside a change to an initiative called Gamstop that made it mandatory for all operators to register which may restrict where players can bet, but a host of non gamstop casinos and betting sites are becoming available to fill this gap to allow players to bet on the growing number of esport games that are becoming available.
What this period of time has shown, however, is that the strong infrastructure within esports and the platform from which it operates is largely resilient to many of the issues that may be present within other sports, and this very positive strong early start can only be good news for the esport industry which is still very young, only really growing and gaining traction over the past decade or so. It’ll take a little time for numbers to become clear, but it is clear that viewership across most competitive titles available are up even at a reduced capacity, with the expectation that numbers will continue to grow once some normalcy has returned and a regular schedule for offline events keeps up with the growing number of online events help recently.