Esports has been ever evolving over the years. From the very first Space Invaders tournament in 1980, all the way to modern-day where we’ve seen gamers earning a lot of money playing games like CS:GO, Fortnite, League of Legends, PUBG and Rocket League. Some of these games have been around for longer than others, but what they all have in common is they’ve entranced audiences across the globe. Whereas once people would gather in arenas for music concerts and sporting events, they’re now flocking to fill stands to watch top players face off against each other.
How esports stole the show in 2020
But how have they done it? Esports titles have adapted and evolved, and never more so than over this past year. With COVID-19 putting a halt to proceedings over events all over the world, esports was one industry that adapted quickly. They began reorganising cancelled events and rather than performing over Local Area Networks (LANs) on big stages, they switched to streaming tournaments online. Broadcasters like the BBC began to cover esports action, due to a lack of entertainment elsewhere, and the growth of esports grew exponentially.
People flocked to get a taste of some exciting contests. People who once watched football were tuning in to see their team’s players taking part in FIFA tournaments. They were tuning in to check out competitive action from all sorts of games. And most importantly, they were sticking around to watch even as sports came back. And as the industry adapted, others were taking note. People were jumping on board the esports train. New television deals were signed, a new betting site in Canada was launched and games were being invested in more than ever.
But where is it all leading to?
What to expect from esports in 2021…
I think it’s safe to say, we can expect growth in 2021. We’ll see more people watching events, we’ll see more people taking part, and we’ll see prize pools grow. And the three go hand in hand really. As more people watch, more people will think they can do that, after all, playing videos games isn’t hard. And whilst they’re right, there is a difference between simply playing, and being good. God knows how much I’ve tried with Apex Legends, I’ve put in so many hours but I’m just terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I can get myself to Platinum, but after that, I’m essentially trash.
As more people get involved, even just by buying the games or skins for the free-to-play titles, it generates more money. As the games grow, so does the interest in them, and more networks will look to strike deals to show coverage of events. As coverage increases, marketing and investment increases, meaning more money comes in. With more money, there are bigger prize pools and with bigger prize pools, the interest goes up again, and it becomes a vicious circle. it just goes round and round and will keep growing.
But what can alter the course of esports is new games. And that is something we will also likely see as more developers try to get in on the action. They’ll be introducing new games looking to get a piece of that sweet esports money themselves by making the next big thing. But is it that easy? Well, it almost looked like it could be for Fall Guys, a title that took off like a fighter jet, flying a million miles an hour. Its popularity soared upon release, but like many of the contestants in the game, it came crashing back down shortly after.
It still gets a fair few views, but nowhere near what it was at its peak. So what could steal the show in 2021? Two upcoming titles that may pique some interest will be Battlefield 5 and Dirt 5. Two titles with solid fan bases, and successful previous editions of their respective series. Dirt 5 may have the easier of the path out of the two, with the market for racing games not as saturated. But Battlefield 5 may struggle, as it has so many more FPS games to contend with. And titles such as Fortnite and Battlefield’s main rival Call of Duty, won’t be letting slip for someone else to come in and steal the thunder.
What are your thoughts?
We’re pretty sure that esports is going to grow, and whilst new titles will come out, we can’t see anyone knocking the main titles from their seats on top of the esports perch. But what do you think? Are there any new titles you think could take off? Maybe you disagree, and think as life returns to normal, interest will fall? Only time will tell, but we’d love to know your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below, or message us on social media. Who knows, maybe we could be friends? Please be our friend!
Check out more of our opinion pieces by clicking HERE.