E-sports to generate nearly $500m in 2016, heralding mainstream future

25 Apr 2016

A new report from PwC into the e-sports media sector said it expects 2016 to be an explosive year, with expectations that revenues will increase by 43pc to $463m, led by both men and women in the sector.

Once considered the pursuit of the game obsessive or social introvert, e-sports has now evolved into a multi-million dollar business where gamers – or those just interested in gaming – are tuning in to their devices to watch their favourite gamers battle it out in lucrative tournaments around the world.

In recent months and years, major game publishers like Activision Blizzard have stood up and taken notice of the popularity of gaming vlogging on YouTube, as well as the live-streaming of games on Twitch, and understand there’s money in them thar hills.

In the PwC report entitled The Burgeoning Evolution of eSports: From the Fringes to Front and Centre, we’re told early on that it is expected to make $463m in 2016, which is a considerable step up from last year, when it made 43pc less than that figure.

Yet, despite being having the most fanatical fanbase, South Korea will not be leading this viewing revolution, rather the US will maintain its dominance and account for 38pc of revenues at approximately $175m.

Stereotypes be damned

While online access to viewing of tournaments has largely been free, substantial sums of money are being made in online advertising, sponsorship and publisher investment, as well as from ticket sales to people turning up to major tournaments.

The report also reveals a surprising stat that more women are apparently watching e-sports than men, with 22pc of women surveyed saying they do, compared with 18pc of men.

The report goes on to determine that the viewing habits of men and women differ when it comes to e-sports, with men enjoying the competitive element, while women watch for the sheer enjoyment of it.

By some distance, the most-viewed type of game remains the first-person shooter, accounting for 63pc of total e-sports viewership, followed by multiplayer online battle arena games at 37pc.

E-sports event image via Przemek Tokar/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic