Esports has experienced meteoric growth over the past decade, with millions of fans around the world tuning in to watch their favourite teams and players compete. The industry has rapidly evolved, and as we look to the future, several trends and predictions are expected to shape the landscape of esports. In this article, we’ll explore the future of esports and emerging trends that could redefine the gaming world.
Check out our post: A Beginner’s Guide to Esports: Understanding the Basics
Increased Investment and Sponsorship
One key trend that’s likely to continue is the influx of investment and sponsorship deals within the esports industry. As esports becomes more mainstream, major brands and investors are increasingly recognising its potential as a lucrative market. We can expect to see more non-endemic brand sponsorships entering the space, as well as increased investment in esports teams, leagues, and infrastructure.
- Major brands investing in esports
- Non-endemic brand sponsorships entering the space
- Increased investment in esports teams, leagues, and infrastructure
A great example of this trend is the partnership between Activision Blizzard, the publisher of the popular game Overwatch, and the sports and entertainment company, Comcast Spectacor. The partnership created a new esports league, the Overwatch League, with franchised teams representing major cities around the world. The Overwatch League attracted several high-profile investors, including Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, and Jeff Wilpon, the COO of the New York Mets.
Technology has always played a crucial role in the development of esports, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. Advancements in gaming hardware, internet infrastructure, and streaming platforms will drive innovation and improve the overall esports experience for both players and viewers. The integration of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in esports could also revolutionise the way we interact with and consume competitive gaming content.
- Advancements in gaming hardware, internet infrastructure, and streaming platforms
- Integration of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in esports
- Improving the overall esports experience for both players and viewers
One of the best examples of technological advancements in the esports industry is the emergence of advanced gaming peripherals, such as gaming mice, keyboards, and monitors. Companies like Logitech, Razer, and ASUS are continuously developing new and innovative products to improve the gaming experience for players. For instance, ASUS’s ROG Swift PG279Q monitor offers a high refresh rate and low input lag, allowing players to react faster and more accurately in-game.
Cloud Gaming and 5G
The emergence of cloud gaming and 5G technology is poised to make a significant impact on the esports industry. Cloud gaming platforms enable gamers to play high-quality games on low-end devices, while 5G technology promises faster connection speeds and lower latency. This combination could make esports more accessible and expand the reach of competitive gaming to new audiences worldwide.
- Making esports more accessible
- Expanding the reach of competitive gaming to new audiences worldwide
- Enabling gamers to play high-quality games on low-end devices
Google Stadia is an excellent example of cloud gaming and 5G technology in the esports industry. Stadia allows users to play high-quality games on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and televisions, without the need for expensive gaming hardware. Stadia’s integration with Google’s high-speed internet infrastructure makes it possible for players to enjoy low-latency, high-quality gaming experiences without interruption.
Emerging Game Genres and Titles
As the esports industry continues to evolve, we can expect to see the emergence of new game genres and titles that cater to an increasingly diverse audience. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, and it’s likely that other innovative game genres will gain popularity in the future. These new esports titles and genres will attract new players and audiences, further expanding the industry’s reach.
- Emergence of new game genres and titles
- Catering to an increasingly diverse audience
- Attracting new players and audiences
Rocket League is an excellent example of an emerging game genre in the esports industry. The game combines elements of soccer and driving, creating a unique and exciting experience that has attracted a large and dedicated fan base. Rocket League has its own esports league, the Rocket League Championship Series, which features top teams from around the world competing for prize money.
Greater Focus on Player Health and Wellbeing
As esports becomes more professional and lucrative, there’s a growing recognition of the importance of player health and wellbeing. In the future, we can expect to see increased emphasis on providing support and resources to help players maintain a healthy work-life balance and cope with the pressures of competitive gaming. This may include a greater focus on mental health support for esports athletes, as well as improved training and coaching practices.
- Growing recognition of the importance of player health and wellbeing
- Increased emphasis on providing support and resources
- Greater focus on mental health support for esports athletes
The esports organization Team Liquid has implemented a program called “Liquid+, which aims to promote the physical and mental wellbeing of its players. The program includes a dedicated team of trainers, psychologists, and nutritionists who work with players to develop healthy habits and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
The esports betting industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with more and more fans placing bets on their favourite teams and players. This trend is expected to continue, as the esports betting market becomes more regulated and established. In the future, we may see a greater variety of esports betting options and platforms, as well as increased cooperation between esports organisations and betting companies to ensure fair and transparent betting practices.
- Growing esports betting industry
- More and more fans placing bets on their favourite teams and players
- Greater variety of esports betting options and platforms
The UK-based betting platform Betway has become a major player in the esports betting industry, offering a wide range of esports betting options and live streaming for popular esports events. The platform also sponsors several esports teams and events, including the Betway Dota 2 League and the Betway CS:GO tournament.
Increased Mainstream Media Coverage
As esports continues to grow, mainstream media outlets are starting to take notice. In the coming years, we can expect to see increased coverage of esports events and stories on television, radio, and print media. This increased exposure will help to legitimise esports in the eyes of the wider public and attract new fans to the industry.
- Mainstream media outlets are taking notice of esports
- Increased coverage of esports events and stories on television, radio, and print media
- Legitimising esports in the eyes of the wider public
The broadcasting giant ESPN has been covering esports events since 2015, and has since expanded its coverage to include several major esports leagues and tournaments. ESPN’s coverage has helped to legitimise esports in the eyes of the wider public, and has attracted new fans to the industry.
Esports and Education
Another trend that’s likely to continue is the integration of esports into educational institutions. More and more schools, colleges, and universities are starting to recognise the value of esports, both as an extracurricular activity and as a potential career path for students. In the future, we may see increased scholarship opportunities for talented esports athletes, as well as the development of dedicated esports courses and degree programmes.
- Integration of esports into educational institutions
- Providing students with valuable skills
- Opening up scholarship opportunities for talented esports athletes
The University of California, Irvine, has implemented an esports program that includes scholarship opportunities, a dedicated esports arena, and a curriculum focused on esports management and production. The program allows students to develop valuable skills in esports management, event planning, and production, providing them with a pathway to a career in the esports industry.
Esports is already a global phenomenon, but its reach is expected to grow even further in the coming years.
The industry will continue to penetrate new markets across the globe, especially in regions such as Asia, Africa, and South America, where gaming and esports are rapidly gaining popularity.
With a growing fanbase and infrastructure, these markets are poised to become major players in the esports ecosystem. This expansion will help to diversify the industry and create new opportunities for players, teams, and organisers.
Additionally, the global nature of esports presents unique challenges, such as language barriers and cultural differences, which the industry will need to address to ensure its continued growth and success.
Overall, the increasing global expansion of esports will be a key driver of growth and innovation in the industry for years to come.
- Expanding into new markets, particularly in regions such as Asia, Africa, and South America
- Diversifying the esports ecosystem
- Creating new opportunities for players, teams, and organisers
The League of Legends World Championship is a major esports tournament that attracts millions of viewers from around the world.
The tournament features teams from various regions, including North America, Europe, China, and Korea, competing for the championship title and a multimillion-dollar prize pool.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have already started making their way into the esports industry, but their full potential is yet to be realised.
The integration of VR and AR can take the esports experience to the next level, allowing viewers to experience the games in an immersive and interactive manner. This could include features such as a 360-degree view of the game, the ability to interact with objects and players in the game, and more.
- Revolutionising the way we interact with and consume competitive gaming content
- Enhanced viewing experiences for fans
- New opportunities for game developers and publishers
The VR game Beat Saber is an excellent example of virtual reality in the esports industry. The game challenges players to slice blocks with virtual sabers in time with the beat of the music.
Beat Saber has its own esports league, the Beat Saber World Cup, which features top players from around the world competing for prize money.
As esports continues to grow, more educational institutions are recognising its value, both as a competitive sport and a potential career path for students.
Some universities and schools are offering scholarships to esports athletes, while others are developing degree programs in esports.
Esports education can provide students with valuable skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving, and create pathways for careers in the gaming industry.
- Integration of esports into educational institutions
- Providing students with valuable skills
- Opening up scholarship opportunities for talented esports athletes
The University of California, Irvine, has implemented an esports program that includes scholarship opportunities, a dedicated esports arena, and a curriculum focused on esports management and production.
The program allows students to develop valuable skills in esports management, event planning, and production, providing them with a pathway to a career in the esports industry.
Inclusivity and Diversity in Esports
The esports industry has been criticised for its lack of inclusivity and diversity, particularly in terms of gender and ethnicity. However, there has been a recent push towards addressing these issues, with organisations and companies investing in initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity.
This includes initiatives to encourage more women and people of colour to participate in esports, as well as efforts to combat toxicity and harassment in the gaming community.
- Embracing diversity and inclusivity in esports
- Encouraging more women and underrepresented groups to participate in esports
- Creating a more welcoming and inclusive esports community
Esports has long been criticized for its lack of diversity and inclusivity. However, there is a growing recognition that addressing this issue is not only the right thing to do but also makes good business sense.
A more diverse and inclusive industry is more appealing to a wider range of audiences and can provide new perspectives and ideas. An example of this is the creation of the Women’s Esports League (WEL), which is dedicated to promoting women’s participation in esports. The league has been successful in providing a platform for female gamers to showcase their skills and has helped to create a more inclusive esports environment.
Esports has already become a global phenomenon, but there is still room for regional expansion. In particular, regions such as Asia, Africa, and South America are seeing rapid growth in the gaming and esports industries.
This presents new opportunities for players, teams, and organisers to expand their reach and diversify the esports ecosystem.
- Expansion of esports events and leagues in different regions around the world
- Creating regional ecosystems of players, teams, and fans
- Developing new talent and exposing new audiences to esports
While esports has a global audience, there are still many regions where the industry is relatively underdeveloped.
As the esports market continues to grow, we can expect to see increased efforts to expand into these regions, particularly in Asia, Africa, and South America. An example of this is the development of esports hubs in Singapore and Malaysia, which are aimed at fostering the growth of the industry in Southeast Asia.
These hubs provide a platform for local players, teams, and organisers to develop their skills and connect with the wider esports community.
As esports continues to grow in popularity and become more mainstream, we can expect to see increased recognition from the wider public and more traditional media outlets.
This includes coverage of esports events on television, radio, and print media, as well as more involvement from non-endemic brands and investors.
- Esports becoming more mainstream
- Recognition from traditional media outlets and mainstream organisations
- Boosting the credibility and legitimacy of esports as a competitive industry.
As esports continues to grow in popularity, it’s becoming increasingly recognized by mainstream media outlets.
This has led to more coverage of esports events and stories in television, radio, and print media, which helps to legitimize the industry in the eyes of the wider public.
An example of this is the coverage of the League of Legends World Championship by ESPN, which helped to introduce esports to a wider audience and attract new fans to the industry.
Overall, the future of esports is exciting and full of potential for growth and innovation. With the continued investment, technological advancements, and increased mainstream recognition, the industry is well on its way to becoming a mainstream form of entertainment and a viable career option for many.
Frequently Asked Questions.
How big is the esports industry expected to become?
The esports industry is predicted to continue growing rapidly, with some estimates suggesting it could reach a market value of over $3 billion by 2025.
Will esports ever be included in the Olympic Games?
While there have been discussions about including esports in the Olympics, no official decision has been made. The International Olympic Committee is exploring the possibility, but it may take some time before esports becomes an official Olympic event.
It’s difficult to predict exactly which new game genres will become popular, but we can expect continued innovation in the gaming industry, leading to the development of new and exciting game genres. These could include more immersive VR and AR games, as well as other innovative genres that cater to an increasingly diverse audience.
How will the integration of esports into education benefit students?
Integrating esports into education can provide students with valuable skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. Additionally, it can open up scholarship opportunities for talented esports athletes and create pathways for careers in the gaming industry through dedicated courses and degree programmes.
- Forbes. (2020, January 6). The Future of Esports: 2020 Predictions. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ginaclarke/2020/01/06/the-future-of-esports-2020-predictions/
- Esports Talk. (2019, October 10). 5 Predictions About the Future of Esports. Retrieved from https://www.esportstalk.com/blog/5-predictions-about-the-future-of-esports-8846/
- Esports Insider. (2019, December 23). The 2019 Esports Forecast. Retrieved from https://esportsinsider.com/2019/12/the-2019-esports-forecast/