Over the last ten years, the eSports industry has gone from being an unknown entity in the mainstream to a $1 billion powerhouse that is continuing to balloon at an astonishing rate. With all the brand investment and raised awareness of eSports, there is every chance that the sector could become bigger than traditional sports in the future.
The thing is, though, that games are constantly evolving. The titles played today may be obsolete in another 20 years, so it’s hard to predict what the industry will look like that far into the future.
Competitive Gaming is Expected to Challenge Traditional Sports
Ever since the early days of video games, there has been a competitive element and players have had the chance to become experts. One of the key driving forces behind the communal feel of the arcade hall during its golden age in the 1980s was in crowding around and cheering as someone challenged for the high score on Pac-Man or Donkey Kong. This vibe has now been recreated online, thanks to the internet opening the potential for infinite networks of players.
The advanced capabilities of games have also helped eSports to boom. Being talented at a title nowadays goes way beyond beating a high score. Players need to have multifaceted skillsets that enable them to get the edge on other professionals. They resemble athletes in that they train hard and hone all the minute aspects of their play until they have perfected a game. This is why eSports players tend to niche down to a game like League of Legends or Overwatch, rather than try to play them all. The attributes needed have become so specialized that a player moving from one game to another would be akin to a rugby player switching to football.
With more than 60 percent of adults admitting to playing games, there could be a greater prospective market for eSports than there is for traditional sport. Other businesses have realised its potential and have begun to invest heavily. For example, companies like Red Bull, Honda, and Pepsi have all sponsored eSports events and teams. The betting industry is also growing around competitive gaming, and there has been a rise of eSports betting sites in 2021. The sector is so competitive that bettors turn to comparison tools to find the best options. From there, they can see all the welcome bonuses on offer, as well as the payment methods that sites accept. Wagering on traditional sport has always helped boost the revenue of its leagues, and the same thing is happening with eSports.
Games are Likely to Change Over Time
Traditional sports have undergone many changes over their history, with the introduction of new rules and technology, for example, occurring on a regular basis. However, the fundamental essence of football, tennis, and other major sports remains the same. This is unlikely to be the case with eSports. The gaming industry is progressing at such a rapid pace that the titles of today will seem outdated in another decade or two.
Think about it. Twenty years ago, most games didn’t even have an online mode. None of the eSports titles that rule the roost today existed. At this point, games like Grand Theft Auto 3 were pushing the boundaries of what was possible, but looking back at that game now it seems ancient compared to the advanced offerings of 2021. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and all the other top eSports will have major updates over the years to keep them fresh, but they will also have to contend with advancing technology that changes the way people play.
This could be the greatest challenge that the industry and eSports players have to cope with. They may need to constantly refresh and adapt their skills as the gaming industry evolves around them. Many people believe that virtual reality gaming will be the next big thing, and in the future people could wear haptic suits to enter the games. At this point, eSports athletes may need to get fit in the same way that traditional sportspeople do, as they may be required to use physical skills within the games.
The one thing that can be said with certainty about eSports is that it will continue to grow and could potentially be bigger than traditional sport one day. However, it is difficult to predict what the competition may look like. Gaming will keep evolving, and the way people play will change. Players and businesses within the industry will need to adapt to stay on top.