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eSports 2.0 Has Arrived, Says TDG

The “silently exploding” category is no longer silent

eSports are ready for their close-up.

The category, which The Diffusion Group described as “silently exploding, out of the mainstream eye for years,” is grabbing widespread industry attention in part because of its valuable ability to create and engage loyal users.

No longer required to prove its worth, the market research firm said, the eSports market has entered its “2.0” phase in which the model is “about growing assets, land grabs, and creating a sustainable business estimated to be on track to reach $1.6 billion by 2022.”

The overall U.S. video game industry generated a record $36 billion in revenue in 2017, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and The NPD Group, which was up 18 percent from the previous year. Growth for 2018 is tracking even higher.

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TDG’s recently released report on the market, titled “The Ascent of the Battle Royale and the Future of eSports,” cites several factors as expected to contribute to eSports’ growth potential during the next decade. Among them:

  • mainstream acceptance, including the category’s evolution toward established sports business models
  • the oncoming 5G rollout
  • improved computer speed
  • new business models/revenue streams
  • new measurement tools

“Fortnite,” of course, was also cited as a contributing factor to current eSports popularity, as was “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG),” another online multi-player game. Nintendo grabbed headlines this summer when it announced the game had been downloaded over 2 million times for the Switch console in just one day.

PUBG, meanwhile, claims 400 million players across all platforms, TDG said, including 50 million downloads sold on Windows and Xbox One.

The potential extends from PCs to game consoles to even mobile devices. Downloads for the mobile “PUBG” exceeded 100 million in less than four months, while “Fortnite” exceeded that within its first three.