Professional gaming, eSports in particular, is becoming a worldwide phenomenon, making multimillion-dollar sponsorship offers for 16 years old and celebrity deals. Now Southeast Asia is picking right up a controller and trying to profit from this big pie.
Known by her first name professionally, Jane plays video games for a full time income. She broadcasts live video recording of herself on the live streaming website called Twitch, typically participating in her most liked game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, while other Hearthstone enthusiasts watch and comment. “Since I play game titles every day,” she says, “I thought I would as well try loading and observe how many people would actually watch me.”
Called a ‘streamer’, Jane, a half-Singaporean, half-New Zealander living in Japan, in addition has dabbled in modeling (she’s been featured by FHM Japan and Esquire Japan) and graphics design.
Streamers such as Jane constitute one element of the wider professional video games industry also known as eSports. Nearly 45 years following the release of the addictively simple arcade game Pong, this can be a business currently worth $748m that is likely to reach $1.9 billion by 2018 with the aid of bets sites and amateur competition platforms, according to the Asia Gaming News website.
Put simply, professional gaming is now a worldwide trend. Digital Specialists company Juniper Research predicts that, by 2020, professional gaming’s audience will increase to almost twice the size, from 133 million to 310 million audiences, surpassing the NFL’s viewership for the 2014 season.
Twitch, which was bought by Amazon in September 2014 for around $1 billion, comes with an average of just one 1.7 million regular monthly broadcasters and 550,000 audiences at any moment. The typical viewers spends seven time a month viewing live streams on the webpage, as revealed in Twitch’s internal analytics.
The University of California, Irvine, now offers scholarships for video tutorial gamers that span four years and are broadly very much like those offered for physical activities. There’s a little league for gamers in Seattle, where children gather to try out video games such as Minecraft, an open-world game that is likened to a digital version of Lego. On the other hand, US athletes Alex Rodriguez, Shaquille Jimmy and O’Neal Rollins have committed to NRG eSports, a team that takes on video games such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Asia is definitely rising up as a power nation in eSports. We will follow up with more blogs on this phenomenon. Watch this space and remember to bookmark our site! Alternatively, you can follow us on Twitter here!