Competitive, multiplayer video games such as Call of Duty and League of Legends have been enjoyed by lots of fans for some time now, but the profile of eSports has skyrocketed over the past few years due to advances in technology and ever-increasing opportunities to get engaged, whether that is through playing or spectating.
Sky Sports offered coverage of eSports for the first time back in March, showing the FIFA Interactive World Cup in March, and a new deal was struck last month to launch the first 24-hour eSports channel in the UK and Ireland. GINX eSports TV is supported by both Sky and ITV and brings comprehensive coverage of competitive videogaming to viewers.
One of the big talking points with eSports is how they fit into casinos, and the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in September is set to discuss that very matter. According to ESports Betting Report, one of the panels will be titled eSports and Casinos: The Coming Collision.
Billed as one of the seminar highlights on the future of gaming, the panel will discuss how eSports can attract the new gaming generation and has been previewed as follows: “With a large revenue streams and new customers, eSports and video game competitions are quickly becoming the next big business opportunity for casinos. Casino industry professionals will gain an understanding of the structure of eSports professional leagues, key demographics and the challenges involved with compliance and responsible gaming.”
The level of work that goes into making eSports a success can also be highlighted by how many categories there are in the eSports Industry Awards 2016. The first finalists for the ceremony have been announced this week, in fields including the Best ESports Coverage Website, Esports Game of the Year, New ESports Game of the Year and many more. The awards will take place at The Brewery in London on 21st November.
Perhaps the most clear sign of how significant eSports could become in the future was given by the Manchester City last week, though, when they signed 18-year-old Kieran Brown. Rather than playing for the football club on the pitch, he will represent the club by playing FIFA at various eSports competitions. Manchester City’s vice-president of media and innovation, Diego Gigliani, said: "As eSports continues to gain momentum, it makes sense for our club to be part of the action and get closer to our fans, who love playing EA Sports Fifa as Manchester City.”
It is a clear indication that eSports are here to stay and are only going to get bigger, so it will be fascinating to see how quickly the industry grows and how casinos can capitalise on the explosion.