The future of esports is bright. In July 2019, a 16-year old boy became the best Fortnite player in the world and won a $3 million prize. That’s a massive paycheck even when compared to the annual earnings of some top athletes in traditional sports. We don’t think esports are going anywhere. Here are our predictions for what the future of esports will look like.
The term ‘esports’ will go out of style
In many ways, an esports athlete is very similar to a regular athlete. In fact, the U.S. government legally recognizes esports athletes as regular athletes when it comes to visa applications. So, when you get down to it, there aren’t many good reasons to differentiate between the two words.
In the future, when someone thinks about an esports game, they’d call it a sport, just like how they’d call basketball or football a sport. In the future, most people will be familiar with esports and acknowledge the fact that it’s not that different from other sports.
Esports will go to the Olympics
It may take a while, but it seems to be the natural evolution of esports. Millions of people around the world participate in esports in some way or another. Many games, such as League of Legends or DotA 2, attract esports athletes from around the world, too.
In fact, according to Esports Charts, in 2018, almost 33 million Chinese viewers tuned in to watch Chinese teams play against each other in the Chinese regional finals of League of Legends. That’s an insane viewership figure, and it’s higher than the viewerships of a lot of traditional sports.
In 2018, the Asian Games added esports as a demonstration sport. The Asian Games are a multi-sport event that happens every four years — similar to the Olympics. The fact that the Asian Games acknowledged the popularity and competitiveness of esports is massive. It goes to show that esports at the Olympics is inevitable.
Esports will generate more revenue than many traditional sports
As reported by NewZoo, the worldwide esports industry will generate about $1.1 billion in revenue in 2019. That’s a lot of money, but compared to other sports, it’s minuscule. For example, the NFL generated almost $14 billion in revenue in 2017, and the NFL isn’t the only football league out there.
It’ll take a while for esports to be as profitable as most traditional sports, but in the future, it will happen. At the rate esports is growing, the industry will likely surpass smaller sports like rugby in the near future — maybe even hockey further down the line.
Major American media companies will get involved
Just like the streaming wars, media companies like Disney, Comcast, and Netflix will compete for esports someday. The CEO of Netflix even said earlier this year he’s more afraid of Fortnite than he is of Disney. So it makes sense all of those media companies will get in on the esports action. Amazon already has a head start there. Amazon isn’t just an online store; it owns Twitch, the largest site for watching esports.
Amazon is also heavily involved in the streaming wars, so if those other media companies want to compete with esports, they’ll have to get the streaming rights to games or popular esports athletes. Either way, the logical move for the huge media companies is to get in on esports as soon as possible and in any way they can.