For me personally, 2016 will be remembered as the year people started taking our sport seriously. I am very humbled and proud to be the first competitive gamer participating in Mästarnas mästare – but the proof of our recognition is greater than that.
Not mentioning the fact that multinational companies continue to invest in e-sports, we’ve also started seeing established clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke 04 and the American NBA-team Philadelphia 76ers buying teams in League of legends and Counter-strike.
E-sports is slowly and steadily included in the wider sports world – and this year’s numbers are telling.
Competitive gaming has grown to encompass 292 million fans during 2016, according to the trade organization Newzoo. That’s an increase with almost 30 percent compared to 2015. The total revenue of the e-sports as a whole – broadcasting rights, tickets, and sponsorships – is estimated to 493 million dollars. That’s a 52 percent increase compared to 2015.
What if we cast our eyes three years into the future?
The number of fans is expected to increase to 427 million and the total revenue is expected to have doubled to a bit over 1 billion dollars. I personally don’t see any risk with an overenthusiastic calculation, or as one might say: a risk for an avalanche.
E-sports is established among the coming generation. More and more youths in the world are connected to the internet and more and more employment and education opportunities are growing in the sector. That gives both amateurs and pros good prospects for the future.
I can’t see any other future than one where the snowball keeps rolling.
We here in Sweden are finally equipped to make e-sports to a real sport. We have together with Area academy and Sverok, The Swedish Gaming Federation, handed in an application to The Swedish Sports Confederation in order for e-sports to be accepted as a full-fledged sport. We will be hopefully awaiting an answer in may.
Next year will be especially exciting on the gaming front. The established giants – Counter-strike, Dota 2 and League of Legends (LoL) – will meet a new competitor: Overwatch. That the game is a success is already an established fact – it took less than a week for the game to be the most played game in South Korean internet cafés. Blizzard is now betting everything that the game, that is a mix between FPS-games (Counter-Strike) and MOBA (Dota 2 and LoL), will be the world’s biggest e-sport. But Blizzard have to fully develop the spectator mode, the mode for the people watching the game, in order for the success to continue.
If Overwatch is a success on that front it will be able to lure in the big crowds and act as a gateway to the fantastic world of e-sports.
The snowball continues to roll.
So, watch out in the slopes 2017!
Emil ”HeatoN” Christensen, åttafaldig världsmästare i Counter-strike