This week the ‘eSports IQ by Alex Fletcher‘ features the following content: eSports on TV continues traction; The battle over market projections; The identity crisis in eSports; The quandary of female-only tournaments; ESPN eSports must exhibit hyper focus.
eSports on TV continues traction
Competitive gaming continues its march onto TV screens as CW and digital network – Machinima team up to bring “Chasing the Cup” to broadcast television and online. Two points stand out here; network executives beginning to grasp the potential of gaming as entertainment, and video game play is being elevated from hobby to shared experience. While the game – Mortal Kombat X – being featured on the show isn’t quite a leading eSport title, its selection underscores a sentiment, shared by gamers and non-gamers alike: certain titles like League of Legends and DotA2 are too difficult for the average viewer to comprehend. Even with an easy to follow game title, “Chasing the Cup” will be judged by how well it can scale its viewership, given television’s ratings and advertising dollar driven model. Meaning, even if gaming entertainment reaches coveted demographics, the question is, can it draw enough eyeballs to stick on TV?
The battle over market projections
This week, research firm Newzoo released its 2016 Global eSports Market Report. On the heels of Deloitte entering the market projection fray, the question of how big the eSports market actually is remains unanswered. Unfortunately, the aforementioned firms stand to gain more from the debate than anyone else. While quantitative sizing is critical to industry, eSports is both early stage and fragmented. Not to mention, inherently global. These characteristics reduce the level of hard data inputs and accuracy of predictive models. Add to that, scant (publicly available) financial reporting and these projections are next to impossible to corroborate. Until the marketplace matures and exhibits more transparency, a clear understanding of its dimensions will remain cloudy.
The identity crisis in eSports
Richard Lewis provides some great insight on the confusion regarding how professionalized eSports needs to become before gaining mainstream acceptance. As a leading eSports journalist, Mr. Lewis draws from a long history in the space to highlight the identity crisis facing it. The state of electronic sports today was forged by passion, personality and purpose. Take notice that professionalism went missing. The authenticity those outside the eSports community rave about exists because it is NOT a politically correct domain. Unlike traditional sports, which have long since become manicured, eSports doesn’t feature representatives, agents or PR firms, yet. It is a world of uncensored Reddit posts, outspoken personalities and Twitter wars. Does that pass for childish and adolescent, at times? Is there room for more measured and mature conduct? Yes, and yes again. However, the spirit of personality over polish should be embraced. Competitive video games, no matter how big it becomes, shouldn’t attempt to ape sports in order to court more casual acceptance. There will always be critics and supporters no matter what road is traveled.
The quandary of female-only tournaments
With debate over the place of female-only tournaments in eSports still prevalent, it’s hard to draw a conclusive stance on their future. However, Intel recently put $30,000 USD towards a women’s tournament for teams in Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). The tournament will take place at the Intel Challenge Katowice 2016, but the larger question is how these events fit into a larger ecosystem? Still, it’s clear that something must be done to address the notable barriers faced by women in competitive gaming. Yet, events like Intel’s must begin to form a cohesive whole; otherwise, they’re destined to remain one-off occurrences. Women in eSports need repeated opportunity to hone and develop skills that prepare them to integrate into competitive co-ed environments. Unfortunately, there’s scarcely enough stability in electronic sports, overall, let alone for gender specific efforts. Meaning, the path to a future where women are active participants in competitive video games remains a puzzle.
ESPN eSports must exhibit hyper focus
To succeed as a player in competitive video gaming media, ESPN must find its niche. As counterintuitive as that might sound, especially for a name as large and established as ESPN, it is the truth. The Bristol, Connecticut based company must offer a high degree of exclusivity and differentiation. If ESPN attempts to copy approaches already employed within the eSports community, it will struggle to maintain new audiences. For example, investigative journalism is something that very few do well in eSports. ESPN should look to consistently offer hard-hitting insights that leverage their connections and know-how. Highlighting key issues affecting competitive video games in a thorough, no-nonsense manner will pull viewers/readers to ESPN.com.
Related content and more:
- Global eSports market report: Revenues to jump to $463M in 2016 – newzoo.com
- Duncan Stewart – Deloitte – A response to SBC’s esports report analysis – sbcnews.co.uk
- eSports is coming to primetime – cnbc.com
- eSports broadcasts come into focus – espn.com
- Parents experience the Minecraft effect – newyorker.com
- ESports Are Driving Digital Video Game Sales – fortune.com
About ‘eSports IQ’
The ‘eSports IQ’ is compiled by Alex Fletcher, the founder and president of Entiva Group, LLC, and features insights on the latest emerging trends in eSports. By curating invaluable content from a wide range of information sources you get the leading edge in the business of eSports. Increase your eSports iQ today by signing up for the eSports IQ newsletter!
Image source: eslgaming.com, Photographer: Helena Kristiannson