It was only a matter of time before Major League Gaming (MLG) and eSports became a disruptive force in the video game industry. Live-streaming has continued to grow in popularity over the last few years. Now with the proliferation of the console and PC market, it’s easier than ever for anyone to stream content from the PC or console of your choice.
Perhaps most interesting of all is watching the MLG organization build arenas dedicated to the sport! (Hold on a second… Is gaming really a “sport”? Ah, never mind. That’s a different post for a different day.) MLG now has several facilities throughout the world and recently expanded to Columbus, Ohio and Brazil. If that’s not enough locations for you, they’re also building a third gaming arena on Hengin Island in China. So start getting your boat ship-shape!
Several large partnerships have been formed by companies such as CBS, Twitch.tv and various YouTube partners focused on eSports and MLG.
- Worldwide eSports Audience: 612,000,000
- eSports viewers in 2015: 134,287,236
- Prize Pool money in 2014: $10,931,103
- Monthly active user base (at tournament time): 9,640,848
- Amount eSports fans spend on games/hardware: $200/month
To give you a better idea of the magnitude of Esports, we’ve included recent video coverage from South Korea:
Do you enjoy watching eSports or MLG? Maybe you’d like to make a little wager on the outcome!
If so, check out eSports betting sites where you can now bet on your favorite gaming team or player. Of course, there’s one small problem: eSports betting isn’t legal (yet) in the U.S. (Probably just a matter of time until that changes.)
One noteworthy eSports betting site that’s gained a lot of attention lately is Unikryn in Seattle, Washington. The company earned a lot of P.R. buzz because investors like Mark Cuban are supporting the business. (If anyone knows about sports and startups, it’s Mark Cuban.) So that says a lot about the opportunities available to Unikryn now. Plus, the employees obviously know their stuff, with impressive backgrounds in hardware, software, video games, and advertising. Some even used to be professional gamers!
Anyway, if you’re a true sports-gamer geek, then you also know about online Fantasy Sports (baseball, football, ice hockey, you name it). The eSports betting idea is very similar in nature to Fantasy Sports. Granted, it’s not for everyone. But there’s no denying the amount of revenue being generated from the popularity of online gaming.
My sense is that this will become a new revenue stream for many companies, as more traditional types of advertising vehicles fade. Digital Darwinism is in full effect and now is the time for companies to explore alternative advertising mediums.
It’s exciting to see what Unikryn is up to and I’m thrilled that new jobs are being created! Best of luck, gang! I’m also looking forward to seeing what will happen next in eSports and eSports betting. Game on!