Online gaming has millions of fans throughout the world. This billion-dollar industry is unique in the sense that it doesn’t involve real stadiums or racing circuits, and other aspects that you’d typically associate with normal sporting activities.

Instead, eSports involve competitors playing video games while live audiences watch them. Millions more watch these competitions online. Often, gamers battle to be crowned the best with millions in monetary prizes at stake. Moving forward, here’s what you should expect to see in the online gaming industry in the coming years.

A Growing Fanbase

eGaming competitions attract millions of enthusiasts. Thanks to social media and other dedicated platforms, it is easier than ever for gamers and their teams to generate interest in upcoming competitions. Currently, eSports accounts for 11% of the viewership on major video streaming sites such as YouTube and Twitch.

The latter is a dedicated gaming platform. It’s estimated that the global online gaming audience will hit the 380 million mark by the end of this year. Of these, 165 million will be dedicated eSports enthusiasts, while 215 million will be occasional viewers. This clearly shows that eSports is on its way to becoming one of the biggest sports-related industries globally.

An Increase in Prize Money

Thanks to the growing number of online gaming fans, you should also expect to see an increase in the prize money that is shared out by competitors during tournaments. Currently, League of Legends is the most lucrative eSport, with competitors battling out for up to $1 million in prize money. This is way more than an average gambler would earn as his/her casino bonus. Besides this, well-established competitors often net more money when appearance fees and sponsorships are taken into account.

The industry is expected to generate revenue worth more than $1 billion in 2020. Fans will contribute more than $100 million in ticket and merchandise sales. With the incredible growth in the amount of money involved in eGaming, expect the prize pool and competitors’ purses to grow bigger. Recently, the International Olympic Committee started exploring ways of including eSports in the Olympic Movement.

The United States government currently recognizes full-time League of Legends gamers as professional athletes. Even though critics of the gaming industry argue that it should not be considered as a real sport, online gaming also requires a great deal of strategy and skill to win. Besides, gamers also spend hours practising, just as it is the case with those who engage in other professional sports activities. The physical exertion of online gamers may not be significant, but their mental effort matches that of other professional athletes.

Gaming as a Social Experience

eSports go hand in hand with technological advancements. Social media has undoubtedly been the ultimate innovation of this era. Online gaming has benefitted tremendously from the growth of social media. Initially, it was though that gaming would isolate individuals and make them more secluded.

However, gaming has turned out to be a remarkably social experience. Gaming enthusiasts get the opportunity to interact with others and share their experiences while doing what they love to do. Thanks to its ability to improve socialization, the future of gaming is in the lounge rather than the bedroom.

Access for All

Thanks to the explosive growth in the popularity of eGaming, many people are interested in knowing what it entails. Therefore, online gaming will get even more popular. In the coming years, more people will get connected to mobile devices. Therefore, expect to see increasingly varied formats of online games.

The recent signing of a partnership between top gamer David Bytheway and German football club Wolfsburg indicates the direction that online gaming is taking. The industry is heralding cross-section partnerships between the virtual and real worlds.

It’s hard to believe that online gaming has grown into one of the most profitable industries. It is lo longer a leisure activity, but a fully-fledged sports activity that brings together professionals and millions of fans.

 

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