With the esports industry growing at a fast pace, especially in the post-pandemic era, video games are no longer restricted as a source of entertainment. The industry has skyrocketed in recent years, growing its market size to 1.8 billion dollars in 2023. It is expected to grow in the future at a larger scale and reach a value of 5.48 billion in 2029.
Several video game developing and publishing companies have produced some iconic games over the years, like CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), Dota 2, League of Legends, Fortnite, Valorant, Apex Legends, and more that have created a grand eSports scene globally. The eSports industry has not only been restricted to PC games, but with more mobile games coming in, making it more accessible to the players, mobile eSports games have also dramatically grown, like PUBG.
In this piece, we go over significant facts and figures to showcase the explosive growth of the Esports industry in the world.
Market Size and Revenue
Several brands are sponsoring professional eSports players and organizations to sustain and nurture them. The loyal fan base and constant support from the gaming community have brought in more sponsors. In fact, sponsorships have formed the highest form of revenue that eSports has been generating in 2023 through its tournaments worldwide, followed by media rights. In total, eSports tournaments have generated over a billion dollars in revenue which goes on show the scale of these events.
eSports Audience Growth
The audience is not only restricted to the spectators watching the match in the venue, but with different live stream platforms available, the live broadcast of the match also brings in a large number of viewers. In 2022, the eSports audience size is estimated at 532 million and is expected to grow to around 640.8 million viewers by 2025.
The viewership numbers on the matched live stream have left everyone awe-inspired. Reports show that 35% of viewers in the United States prefer to watch eSports on Twitch, a live-streaming platform that has gained immense popularity in the gaming community, especially among eSports enthusiasts. Twitch has a heavy influence and brings in a lot of viewership from the gaming community, even though around 60% of males in the US are not a fan of eSports. It is witnessed that the median age of the viewers is 28 years in the United States, with 39% of the total audience in the 25 – 34 age range.
➡️ China Shows Strong Growth in Terms of Achievements in eSports
In China, the age group is also very young as the majority of 38% of the populace fall under the 25-34 range. A survey of Chinese esports fans was done in April 2022, which revealed that about 39% of the respondents stated they watched eSports game streaming for more than 20 hours every week. China has impressively a larger eSports market with an estimated value of $1.16 billion, which is followed by the United States. The US esports market approximately stands at a value of $560 million dollars. The industry has boomed in other countries as well, like Brazil, South Korea, Japan, India, Indonesia, and more. The gigantic fanbase all across the globe has allowed the market to grow in recent years.
Beyond the statistical evidence, the eSports tournaments are a success. They become significant turning points, increasing the spectrum of what is possible in the competitive gaming scene. They bring in and unite the gaming community all over the world and encourage unity and enthusiasm among fans. In addition to giving professional players a stage to show off their skills, tournaments take eSports to new heights and help it become recognized as an exciting and competent form of entertainment.
Top teams from all over the world compete in famous Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) tournaments like the Intel Extreme Masters and the ESL Pro League. The League of Legends World Championship is one of the most popular eSports tournaments hosted annually. This international tournament, which is hosted by Riot Games, brings together the top teams from different corners of the world to compete against each other for the championship. Millions of fans tune in to watch the intense battles and strategic plays, and the event consistently attracts enormous viewership numbers. A peak concurrent viewership of almost 49 million viewers was reached at the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, showcasing the huge popularity and reach of esports tournaments.
Beyond CS: GO and League of Legends, a variety of other popular competitions featuring various video games have also been successful. The Fortnite World Cup has also created a competitive platform for professional players to showcase their talent among the fans on a global stage.
➡️ The Success of Valorant
Riot Games has played a key role in expanding the esports industry, especially after the launch of their 5v5 multiplayer shooting game, Valorant. One of the most successful tournaments in the eSports industry is Riot Games’ Valorant Champions Tour (VCT). The VCT, the global championship series for the widely recognized video game Valorant, draws in players and spectators by showing extraordinary talent and competition.
Valorant’s competitive environment has reached new heights due to the VCT, which gives teams a stage on which to demonstrate their abilities and collaboration. The well-designed setup and huge reward pools have motivated the players and organizations to actively participate in the tournaments.
These tournaments bring in players from both regional and international levels, giving everyone an equal opportunity, creating a competitive space, and serving as the pinnacle of the eSports industry, drawing in huge audiences, and showcasing the incredible talent and skill of professional gamers.
eSports Players and Teams
When it comes to making money in professional gaming, the esports players boom. Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, from Denmark, has remarkably earned over seven million U.S. dollars by playing Dota 2 eSports tournaments. The world of competitive gaming has created more new opportunities for talented players to earn an incredible amount of money. However, there is a major pay gap between male and female eSports players when it comes to earnings. Sasha “Scarlett ” Hostyn is the highest-earning female member who has earned over 400 thousand U.S. dollars during the entire tenure of her esports career.
➡️ Age Demographic of eSports Players and Audience
The eSports industry has a massive young audience. The age range typically observed for esports players turning professional is commonly between 16 and 18 years old. This has opened doors for the youth with new opportunities. Several new players have proved themselves with their skills in their respective games and have established themselves as a professional player in the industry at a young age. However, the retirement age is also quite high between ages 22 and 24, attributing either getting burnt out by intense practice or even developing injuries and diseases like tennis elbow, obesity, and stress.
➡️ Esports Teams Accomplishments
Several teams have emerged over the years globally from different countries. Team Liquid is one of the renowned eSports organizations with a record of the most number of tournaments won till date. These teams have also built up a strong social media presence with a heavy fan following. FaZe Clan has more than 18 million followers on social media. TSM is reported as the most valuable company with an estimated value of 540 million dollars, as the Forbes report suggests.
➡️ eSports Active Players
Due to developed infrastructure and support for gamers and eSports players alike, the United States has the most active esports players with a number of 3731, followed by China with 1710 active esports players. However, China has developed a gaming culture in the country, with leading game developers providing support to budding gamers. That support gets reflected in their performance, where they earnt the highest revenue from tournaments, $46 million in 2022, despite the lower number of active players. Moreover, the US earned only $29.43 million in the same year, finishing second to China.
There has been statistically proven evidence of the constant growth of the eSports industry, supported through sponsorships from different brands. The future holds immense potential for eSports, with continued growth, innovation, and opportunities for both players and fans alike.
eSports Tournaments Going Bigger by the Year
The eSports tournaments have grown significantly in terms of audience as well as the size of the events. Over the years, while many games have gathered a loyal audience, there is one title that dominates the financial side through its prize pool, and that is Dota 2.
➡️ Enormous Prize Pools in eSports
The International 2021 tournament had a massive prize pool of $40,018,400.00 and each year, it gets bigger and bigger. On the international stage, no game even comes closer to Dota 2. One of the reasons why Dota 2 builds such a big prize pool is because unlike other games, their fans participate in crowdfunding campaigns to support them, making them way bigger than any sponsorship level.
➡️ Esports Tournament Viewership
In terms of viewership of eSports tournaments, Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore had the highest number of 5.4 million Peak viewers, which is a lot for a mobile title. However, it goes on to show how much penetration has mobile battle royale games like Free Fire achieved where they are able to reach even the remotest places in the world, especially in the Asian countries.
While Dota 2 ranks first in the “Most Watched Games Ranking” on Twitch, there are also other games like GTA V, Rust, and the newly released Diablo 4, which comes down the list. But coming at the 10th position of the list is Fortnite which rose in popularity in the last few years due to its wide variety of collaborations with other brands and live events, which are hosted in the game for the players at the end of the seasons and chapters.
➡️ Streamers Make it Big in Gaming
In Fortnite, the biggest streamer on Twitch, Ninja stands with 18,538,541 followers and signed an exclusive streaming deal with the platform as well. Known for his iconic skills at the game and even ‘ligma’ jokes, his volatile personality is beloved by fans all over the world. Also, it draws a barrier between popular games with higher viewership necessarily don’t do good with streamers as well as it depends on their personality and fan base.
eSports is growing at an enormous pace. With the current rate, it should cross several major entertainment industries and become mainstream entertainment over films and other mediums. Video games are also growing exponentially, which is also beneficial for the eSports environment. Hopefully, these eSports statistics give you a better idea of how big the industry has become, and where it could potentially reach.
Also, if you’re into eSports and want to test your skills, why not try out some games from our list of the best eSports games?
Rijit Banerjee is a gaming/esports journalist who started his career in Sportskeeda in India and moving to work in some of the leading gaming publications in the world such as GG Recon, ESTNN, Dot Esports, and more. He spends his free time reading… read more