Online video gaming has rapidly grown in popularity over the last decade. Despite the existence of organized video game competitions for about three decades, eSports and have taken a whole new dimension in the last 10 years largely due to the internet and online streaming services.
Fan favorite games like Call of Duty, FIFA Ultimate team, and Fortnite have greatly increased the popularity of eSports, with players and streamers increasing year by year. The gaming frenzy, however, dates back to the Space Invaders Championship in 1980. It was the first large scale video game competition with over 10,000 participants across the United States.
The team behind NJGames has created the infographic below which shows that the growth of eSports has been slow but steady since the ‘80s. It was a relatively unfollowed enterprise even five years ago, with small budgets and lack of audience, but its popularity has absolutely skyrocketed in the subsequent years.
The enterprise has gone from having 134 million viewers in 2012, to 335 million in 2017 and a mammoth 557 million viewers in 2018. The spike in popularity is largely due to the equally growing popularity of online streaming services like YouTube and Twitch.
eSports is now very much a spectator sport, with about 40% of viewers not playing any of the top games. Streaming services and live audience have become more and more integral to the success and popularity of the enterprise. Games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Free Fire have garnered millions of viewing hours by spectators on YouTube only.
The popularity of eSports has also seen the launch of eSports betting. About $5.5 billion was wagered on eSports in 2016. With the popularity of the enterprise ever-growing, those numbers are set to increase drastically. In fact, the growth of major eSports competitions worldwide will be worth more than $12.9 billion by 2020.
The rapid rise of eSports in the last 5-10 years has been remarkable. It has bred an online gaming frenzy, creating a financially lucrative industry with endless potential. With the number of players, viewers, and investors on the rise, the enterprise is only going to get more popular in the years to come.
Check out the infographic below for a detailed description of the rapid rise of eSports.