After two very difficult years, there are signs of an upturn, reflected in the field of competitive gaming in return to live events, in a new contact with fans, professionals, and, above all, players. Contrary to what we are led to believe – given its “technological” genesis – the heart of the export remains precisely the contact, the human relationship established between all those who live it every day.
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Industry growth and upcoming live events
Despite the two years forget we just mentioned, the sector has proven to be “resilient,” perhaps due to its traditional penchant for innovation and its unique nature: It’s inherently a high-tech sector.
Judging by the growing data for 2020-2021 published by Statista.com, the sector is now enjoying a new awareness that’s laid the groundwork for it to take off again in 2022 with even more decisive momentum. An emerging market (again) full of new opportunities that, together with the return of live events, represent positive factors for the future export agenda.
What’re the trends that will drive the export of the future? Let’s take a look at some of them.
Mobile gaming can no longer be considered a novelty, at least as far as the gaming industry is concerned. It’s no coincidence that by the end of 2023, the value of games on mobile devices (which, as you know, already offer playful experiences on par with other devices in terms of both quality and content) will reach and exceed $3.07 billion. Publishers and developers are looking to mobile gaming with growing interest (think Blizzard with Diablo or Ubisoft with upcoming games The Division and Rainbow Six Siege) to drive revenue through hybrid business models.
In this turbulent market, competitive games can be the primary means to attract competitive gamers and Esports enthusiasts. We already have many successful experiences in front of us: consider the titles that have had a structured and layered esports scene for years, such as the Supercell IP, PUBG (the Global Invitational prize pool is four million dollars this year), Call of Duty, and virtually all the games owned by Tencent.
The world of the stream
The aforementioned sudden increase in demand and consumption of gaming-related products and their competitive trickle stem from a new type of users, distinct from the so-called “avid fans,” attracted by the opportunity to compensate for the absence of physical and sporting events with a different and curious kind of entertainment.
Revenues around streaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming continue to grow rapidly, although Twitch still holds virtually over 80% of the market. The streaming segment is worth over $2 billion and is expected to grow to $3.5 billion by 2025. In terms of exports, broadcasting tournaments and events set in motion a number of invaluable positive variables for the industry as a whole.
Consider the investment from sponsors who place their own brand on teams, players, and tournaments (as well as in-game, as in League of Legends). They’re attracted by the attention they receive with immense potential and at a lower cost to the brand, among other things, to appeal to one of the most difficult consumer categories ever: Generation Z.
From simple organizations to companies 3.0
When we talk about competition and refer to organizations, we no longer think of the “old” concept of the team but refer directly to the definition of the “media company.” While in the past, the so-called “org” was responsible for putting together a team, getting players into tournaments, and little else, now any reality that wants to compete in the export scene must take the evolutionary path to the concept of a “latest generation enterprise.”. “This means having a multifunctional playhouse where the mantra “Content is the King” takes shape. Content production is, therefore, the cornerstone around which the entire development strategy revolves, as well as a vehicle for the company’s success.
A success that’s conveyed through streaming channels and community activities, partnerships (even with luxury companies) that market clothing lines (perhaps exploiting the concepts of exclusivity and scarcity), merchandise, and sponsorships with brands. In short, it’s no longer the player or team that acquires value. Or at least not only. It’s the logo that acquires value, the name of the export company, the recognizability of the brand, and its reality. There are several examples of new concepts, such as Qlash, Mkers, Macko, HSL, and so on. In the end, as already mentioned, export is seen above all as a form – the latest – of digital entertainment.
New job opportunities
The growth of the sector leads to the creation of completely new jobs that didn’t exist before or weren’t recognized. Also, in our country, many organizations are no longer just nice meeting places for aspiring professional players but real all-around entrepreneurial structures that are looking for investors, sponsors, marketing, and business opportunities.
Most organizations, just like traditional sports clubs, have doctors, social media managers, psychologists, personal trainers, managers, and communication experts in their organization chart, all unprecedented professional profiles that allow those looking for a job to get into the game right away, even though we’re still at the beginning.
Just check indeed.com to understand how many open jobs there are in the eSports field.
NFTs can be considered the “next big thing” of gaming (in general) and the export sector (in particular).
Although it may seem that NFTs are a new thing, in reality, they’ve been around in gaming for a number of years. Consider the (legal, but very often illegal) market surrounding skin trading in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In any case, organizations can promote their franchise through all kinds of NFTs: from a limited series of trading cards dedicated to their players to real digital products such as skins, messages, or content registered and personalized by professional players or the creator of the organization. In this way, several positive results can be achieved: Affection for the brand, investments, unprecedented revenue streams for the growth and expansion of the organization, and so on.
When entire competitive universes such as CS: GO, VALORANT, FIFA, League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Overwatch can create NFT markets, they’ll be able to benefit from a huge amount of revenue to further drive the growth and sustainability of the entire ecosystem, turning it into one of the richest industries ever.