Esports proved itself resilient during the pandemic. It was able to thrive so much that it even assisted other areas of the entertainment industry. Even as covid restrictions lighten, esports tournament organizers will continue to rely heavily on virtual tournaments in 2022.
The new year offers opportunities for esports teams and streaming platforms to thrive. Pro players and influencers turn to live streaming more now than ever to reach global audiences.
The expansion of 5G internet speeds will help publishers and brands reach gamers on their phones. According to Esports BAR in its recent exclusive White Paper, Mobile-First Esports: from Asia to the Rest of the World, 5G could increase the positive experience of competitive gamers.
Growing Online, Safely Apart
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the pandemic could “easily drag on deep into 2022.” We have all come accustomed to a “new normal” but long for togetherness with our fellow esports fans.
A silver lining appeared during the pandemic. The Esports industry showed an uncanny ability to adapt and innovate. Stadiums remained empty and players stuck at home, so brands and publishers turned to remote production solutions. Esports organizers had to step up the pace.
BoomTV was already well known in the online tournament space when the pandemic hit, but demand for the company’s production services skyrocketed in 2021.
“Last year brought amazing brand partnership opportunities for our esports tournament platform,” Victor Suski, VP of Esports for BoomTV told Esports BAR. “We produced over 90 premium, monetised esports events in 2021 compared to 30 the year before, and our community events grew 308%. In-person events are starting to return little by little, but it’s clear that brands will no longer rely on them entirely going forward – not when online tournaments draw such positive results.”
Suski and his team found themselves running the three most-viewed Warzone events of December: the Code Red Mountain Dew Showdown, UFC Warzone Invitational, and $100k Pacific Pursuit event with FaZe.
Traditional sports like football and soccer have found a new audience in competitive gaming. Ukraine-based esports tournament platform ESportsBattle saw its viewership grow 29% from September to October 2021.
Gamers missed attending a live event but happily tuned in to events from across the world. Twitch viewership grew 45% in 2021. Newzoo predicts that esports enthusiasts — those who watch esports content at least once per month — could reach 285.7 million worldwide by 2024.
Meeting in the Metaverse
Video games are headed toward a metaverse. The scene is still a bit disjointed, but esports is a forerunner. Dubit’s Metaverse Gaming League plans to host real-time competitions. It will use a combination of 3D tech, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and ultra-high-speed Internet connectivity.
Roblox will provide the platform for MGL. The online-gaming service lets subscribers create and play games with others. Roblox boasts 48.2 million daily active users.
Esports BAR Cannes returns to France 4-6 April! Join us in person and register HERE.
Esports’ Cautiously Optimistic Return to Live Events
We’re no fortune tellers, but trends give us a pretty good idea of how the pandemic will impact esports in 2022. Some of the biggest esports tournaments will attempt to run in-person events this year.
IEM Katowice opened its doors to fans for the first time since 2019 this year. However, several players have contracted tested positive for covid. This forces teams to shuffle rosters and enter isolation.
All matches in the 2022 LCK Spring Split have been played offline in the league’s Seoul venue thus far. Players from DRX and Hanwha Life Esports have tested positive for Covid, so those plans could change.
Tournament organisers aren’t giving up. The Evolution Championship Series (Evo) plans to return to an in-person event in Las Vegas this year. The fighting game tournament series was cancelled in 2021.
In May, the ESL One Stockholm Dota 2 Major will return to a live format. This will be the first Dota 2 Major with a live audience in over two years. ESL Impact will take a hybrid approach for its all-women CS:GO teams.
It will have two league seasons with live finals, a standalone event, and online cash cups for all-women teams. The combined prize pool for ESL Impact will be $500,000.
Of course, we can’t wait to see you all in person. The 10th edition of Esports BAR will welcome you back in Cannes this April! Get ready for a 3-day programme of networking, conferences & special events gathering the whole esports community in one place.