What’s Next for eSports?

Unsplash // Alexander Andrews

We’ve seen a lot of progress in the eSports industry in recent years, as it moves away from being a niche interest to major international force. In fact, the biggest tournaments in the world, as demonstrated by DOTA 2-focused tournament, The International, routinely offer tens of millions in prize money. But what other aspects are people still surprisingly unaware of, and where could we go from here?

One thing to be conscious of is that not only is the eSports industry itself well-developed, but it has also reached a size where even surrounding industries are seeing major success off of its back. Online casino websites like those listed by Oddschecker, for example, commonly offer betting opportunities on major tournaments just as they would traditional sports, and this is just the start. Major sports channels like ESPN have also started showing a few key competitions, showing there is still huge untapped public viability.

We already know that dedicated channels for eSports have worked in the past, as Korea showed with their OnGameNet cable station all the way back in 2000. With eSports bigger than ever all over the world, it could well be time for the western world to follow suit with channels tailored for at-home viewing. Of course, the dominance of Twitch might cause some issues here, but we are sure that even simple Twitch sponsored mirrors on these channels could still draw enormous numbers.

Another growing related industry is that of tutorship. While we have seen these on smaller scales with parents paying dedicated teachers to show their kids the way to victory in more casual games like Fortnite, this is only the first step in what is becoming a growing industry. Now actual courses are taught with major eSports games like DOTA, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. As prizes for these competitions continue to grow, this sort of supporting industry will become increasingly common, and sought out.

Looking even further forward, we have to consider the effect of VR and AR gaming on the next level of eSports competition. While still in the theoretical stage due to the need for more effective miniaturization, these future eSports could easily combine gaming skill and physical athleticism into a new genre entirely. Think paintball, except with virtual weapons of much higher caliber, incorporating elements of parkour and power-ups.

While the true nature of the next step of eSports is difficult to predict, what is undeniable is the inevitable growth will create visibility and viability on a level never before experienced. True, these systems will probably never attain the same level of respect and love as traditional sports, but we can bet that the gap between the two forms will only shrink over time.


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