The eSports industry is growing at an incredibly exponential rate and there is no stopping it from getting bigger and better. More and more people are watching competitive games, especially after Twitch was launched in 2011 and YouTube started offering live streaming in 2012.
Source: Techmeme via Facebook
Just How Big is eSports?
Based on a NewZoo report, total eSports audience reached 6.5 million in the UK alone in 2016. In another report titled Global Esports Market Report 2017, Newzoo shares that worldwide viewership in 2016 was at 323 million and this number is predicted to grow to 589 million by 2020. And in 2022, eSports will become a medal event at the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China.
In its eSports Guide, eSports betting operator Master Mazuma cites that 2016 League of Legends World Championship was watched by 43 million unique viewers. The overwhelming size of the audience was matched by a substantial amount in the tournament's prize pool, with the competition giving out $6.7 million in prize money.
Yes, the prize pools are huge. Another big event, the Dota 2 Valve Majors, offers a total of $3 million for every event, while the Dota 2 Asia Championship has a total prize pool of $3,057,000.
Make Way for the VR Challenger League
During E3 2017, the world’s premier event for computer, video, and mobile games, Intel’s Gregory Bryant announced that it is collaborating with eSports giant ESL and Oculus to form the VR Challenger League.
This VR eSports league will involve a series of both online and offline competitions that will commence on July 12, 2017, culminating with a final championship event in 2018 at the annual Intel Extreme Masters World Championship to be held in Poland. The general prize pool for players is said to be at $200,000.
Featured Games: The Unspoken and Echo Arena
The VR Challenger League competition series will be focusing on two games: The Unspoken and Echo Arena. The Unspoken is an immersive one-on-one Oculus Touch-enabled VR action game wherein the player becomes a sorcerer casting spells and fighting in magician’s duels in a hidden world.
Echo Arena, on the other hand, is a brand new game also developed by Oculus that is yet to be launched on July 20. Echo Arena is a fast-paced multiplayer game of up to five players in a team that has to score goals in a futuristic zero-gravity clash. This game will be a free download for Oculus Rift for the first three months.
More Action with VR in eSports
The exciting thing about VR in eSports is the way it makes the games closer to real sports because of the physical activity that it requires, unlike traditional video gaming. Compared to merely sitting in front of a computer and operating with a mouse and keyboard, VR eSports involves movements and gestures, which give both players and viewers more action.
This year, players and fans will certainly be witnessing a new era in eSports unfold. Could this lead to higher numbers than previously predicted? Let’s wait and see!