How Big Will E-Sports Get In The Future?

A decade ago, only around ten eSports tournaments were held worldwide. Today, there are over 400 held annually and the numbers are only set to rise. eSports is well on its way to becoming a business worth billions of dollars as hundreds of millions of global fans will testify.

E-Sports are a growing phenomenon, but even now, there is still hot debate about whether playing online games, professionally or otherwise, should ever truly be said to be a sport. Yet, whatever the truth of the matter is, there are about 300 million people around the world who form eSports’ global audience. It seems as if eSports are certainly here for the long-term, and are only set to attract ever-more viewers, advertisers, players and supporters in the years to come.

You may prefer to place your bets in one of the new online casinos, but if you’re the wagering type, you might want to put some of your hard-earned money on eSports as the next big thing in the world of sports and also the world of gaming. The prize pool for eSports has now grown beyond that for many long-established sports. We only need to look at the Stanley Cup and the Indy 500, two events with a prize pool of around $7 million and $13 million respectively, and compare them with the prize of around $24 million awarded for the DOTA 2 eSports tournament to see how the future could look.

Institutional Support Is Increasing

Even though there is some reluctance among official institutions, eSports is slowly gaining ground when it comes to obtaining support. Several years ago, the United States Government gave recognized status for professional players of League of Legends as athletes. Even the Olympic Committee is starting to take eSports seriously. In the Asian Games of 2018 League of Legends was featured for a few days under the category of “demonstration sports”. What’s more, schools and universities are starting to consider eSports as an official form of sport, with the University of California Irvine an the Robert Morris University having started to offer scholarships to League of Legends college team members.

eSports – A Mobile Betting Revolution

When most people think about eSports, they tend to imagine a group of players hiding behind their PC screens. However, most leaders in the eSports industry are placing bets via their mobile devices. Companies such as Supercell who only have four game titles are now reporting about $802 million in profit, and with close to two billion smartphones due to be shipped during 2022, it seems that mobile betting is the perfect way for new players to be captured, advertisers drawn in and the reach of eSports expanded.

The Bright Future Of Esports

Whether people are set to play on computers or mobile devices, whether they’ll be watching the latest games via Twitch or attending a mega gaming event, there’s one thing for certain – eSports is growing in terms of both viewers and players. With its increasing popularity, its revenues also go up, and as eSports become more accessible virtually anyone can join in so long as they’re happy to expend the time and effort required. So, will eSports ever become an official Olympic sport?

Are eSports Heading To The Olympics?

There are rumours that there is growing interest among the International Olympic Committee in the potential of VR (virtual reality) as one way in which eSports could be included in the Olympic events programme. However, instead of solely being a virtual version of today’s popular sports, it’s likely that new types of sport like HADO will emerge.

Another alternative is that the fields, pitches and stadia of traditional sports will be re-imagined in the virtual arena and designed for even greater excitement. Tennis stars of tomorrow may be playing on virtual reality courts on which they’ll have the ability to move in 3D instead of 2D. With full-body VR systems, this could be possible since players could experience and feel the world around them thanks to an exo-suit which simulates the environment.

In 2020, the Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo. There is already speculation that there will be a place for eSports near or even on the podium. Why is speculation so rife? Well, a hotel dedicated to eSports has recently been launched in Tokyo and it’s expected to be open in time for the Games to be launched. Not only that, by Intel, one of the Olympic partners, has recently announced that an eSports tournament sanctioned by the Olympic committee will be taking place just days before the opening of the Games.

While eSports are unlikely to be a medal-winning sport in 2020, 2019 has seen the first time that esports medals have been awarded at a major sporting event. The South-East Asian Games has pioneered a strong association with the esports sector and this only serves to indicate that the emerging technology has gradually begun to worm its way into sporting mega-events.

We can’t say for certain whether traditional sports and esports will ever truly be seen as one and the same, however, we could view the esports of today as being similar to the era of silent black and white movies from a century ago. The technology is still, relatively speaking, in its infancy, and with so much technological evolution set to transpire in the future, it’s likely we’ll see esports become more firmly established in the years to come.

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Last Updated: Nov 14, 2019

About The Author

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James, a lifelong gamer, is a freelance writer who occasionally contributes to Ten Ton Hammer.