Game on! How computer games are taking over entertainment
Forget the movies, forget TV, forget rock and roll – computer games are becoming the biggest entertainment industry on the planet.
3 min read
As the world waits on the edge of its collective seat for the results of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the players of another global football tournament are preparing for their play off in London in early August – the contestants in the FIFA 2018 eWorld Cup.
This computer game competition has been running since 2004 and has grown steadily in popularity. Over 20 million players competed online for a place in the playoffs held in Amsterdam in May and June, where 128 players on each of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 competed for one of the 16 places for each platform in the world final.
If all this seems like fun and games, the money involved is deadly serious. Last year’s winner – the UK’s Spencer Ealing – also known by his online handle ‘Huge Gorilla’ – walked away with a massive trophy and a US$200,000 prize, and the final was watched by nearly 50,000 people.
This esporting life
FIFA isn’t the only game in town. In fact, it’s fairly small scale compared to the millions who play – and watch – games like Fortnite, League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients 2 and CS: Global Offensive every week.
The audience and revenues for esports are rising:
- Market intelligence company Newzoo estimates that the audience size for esports in 2016 was 6.5 million people, with 3.1 million tuning in to esport events more than once a month
- Consultancy firm PWC predicts that esport ticket sales will reach £8m in 2021, and advertising will reach £12m
The prizes in the big games can be huge. Members of the winning team in the 2017 Defense of the Ancients 2 international tournament each made more than the individual team members of the winning team of the Superbowl. Game publisher Epic has just put up a prize pool of US$100m for competitive Fortnite players in 2018/19.
As Coutts wealth management specialist for esports Jamie Regan explains, “Prizes in competitive esports are rising to levels that rival traditional sports, with players earning six- and seven-figure sums. Video game ‘vlogging’ is another distinct area, with many non-competitive gamers attracting millions of views, as well as lucrative sponsorships and advertising income via their social media channels. These are exciting times.”
Recognising the growing importance of esports, Coutts held an event last October to highlight this growing area. We brought together prominent figures in this burgeoning field to explore ways to grow audiences and revenues, and talk about ways to generate investment in this new sector. Another event is planned for later in 2018 to build on the success of last year’s event.
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Technology is changing the world of entertainment in exactly the same way that it’s changing every other aspect of our lives. Computer games are overtaking movies and TV as our preferred mode of entertainment. And if we’re not playing games ourselves, we’re watching the burgeoning field of esports. These changes mean that the technology sector is likely to remain at the forefront of investors’ minds.
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