The year 2015 was a big one for the competitive gaming and eSports betting industry. New companies emerged in the scene, new partnerships were being forged, the industry has seen new games being introduced, and the industry itself gained more popularity and exposure than ever.
In this article we present some of the milestones in the market that occurred last year.
New and established companies get involved in eSports
Unikrn, an eSports betting site, has not only received important funding from new investors, but has also introduced many novelties in the eSports wagering environment. A new way of betting, including more games in their portfolio that can be bet on and exotic bets are only some of the great new ideas the company has come up with during the year.
As the market grew bigger, more and more companies started working on their own involvement to capitalize on the expanding industry. DraftKings and FanDuel, two of the most popular and successful companies in the daily fantasy sports betting market, expanded their businesses to the eSports market.
Activision Blizzard, a well-known company in the gaming industry, has created an eSports division. With its rich history in eSports with titles such as StarCraft, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone, the company is well-positioned to become the leading game publisher in eSports.
Another major gaming company, Electronic Arts, or more commonly EA Games, also announced its new eSports division, called the EA Competitive Gaming Division. The company is known for its titles like Madden, FIFA, and Battlefield 4 – games that thrive on competition. With this, EA Games is on an excellent track to capitalize on the blooming competitive gaming market.
As the market unfolds, a new aspect to competitive gaming was introduced – gaming on mobile devices. When looking at the capabilities of today’s smartphones and the amount of mobile devices out there, it’s a promising new way of “tackling” the eSports industry.
Fresh eSports titles and innovations
Some companies have tried to bring their own product to the games pool, and even though not all were successful, some new games have emerged that deserved attention.
Overwatch, a new team-based shooter game created by Blizzard, joined the competitive eSports pool in October. Launched as a closed beta, the game was available to only a small amount of testers. The game is Blizzard’s first venture into the first-person shooter genre and the first new intellectual property of the company since Starcraft.
Next was Paladins, a free-to-play team-based shooter developed by Hi-Rez Studios, the company that brought you Smite. The game put a twist on the genre by introducing a new way of a level-up system, which is based around a set of cards that players earn through playing or through microtransactions. For now, the game looks like a product that has solid potential for competitive play.
In December, Epic Games, an American video game development company known for its famous Unreal series and the third-person shooter Gears of War, expanded into the MOBA genre with its game Paragon.
The game’s setup is similar to other MOBAs like Dota 2 and League of Legends, having five players battle five players on a map with three lanes, a jungle, minions, towers, and heroes. What’s different about the game compared to its rivals is the third-person perspective, which, according to its creators, is instrumental in making the new game a stronger experience.
Paragon will be released for PlayStation 4 and PC in 2016. Online testing is planned to start in January, followed by paid early access in spring, and open beta in summer.
The future’s so bright…
All this development also attracted big names from other industries. For example, Mark Cuban invested in an eSports startup and played League of Legends at a famous competitive gaming event, and Rick Fox bought an eSports team, just to name a few. This exposure, which is also aimed at a mainstream audience, will be crucial for the industry’s growth in the future.
It can be said without doubt that 2015 was the most fruitful year for eSports so far and that the industry is looking into a bright future.