The market researcher recently issued its “2016 A Year in Review: Digital Games and Interactive Media” report, which highlights the esports industry, shows its growth during the last twelve months, and suggests what’s to come in the future.
The report covers the development and trends in the esports industry as a whole, while also providing insights for separate sections, like mobile esports, games by genre, gaming media, and the growing VR area.
‘Esports has become the focal point for publishers, TV executives, and advertisers’
Despite the fact that Super Data’s $892 million valuation of the esport industry is relatively small compared with the $91 billion generated by the interactive entertainment industry as a whole, the company still believes competitive gaming has become a focal point for publishers, TV executives, and advertisers.
That’s not surprising, given the many organizations and companies that became involved with the industry in the last year.
The report includes a section on esports betting, which, according to Super Data, accounted for $58.9 million in revenue this year. This year also marked saw increased interest in esports from established bookmakers.
For this and other reasons, such as regulators making esports betting legal in Nevada, the industry is considered to have a bright future.
Super Data’s esports industry split and projections
Considering the growth of esports in the last couple of years, it’s not unexpected to see positive forecasts for the future.
Super Data says revenues grew by 19 percent year-over-year, mainly due to more brands and advertisers entering the market. The company projects the industry to reach $1.4 billion in revenue in 2019, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of almost 12 percent.
The projected increase in revenue is based on the growth of direct revenue sources, such as esports betting sites and amateur tournament platforms.
Currently, revenue generation is dominated by Asia, which accounts for $329 million, or roughly 39 percent of the revenue generated during 2016. North America follows with $275 million, or 30.5 percent, and is not far ahead of Europe, which accounts for $269 million, or 30 percent.
The geographical split in terms of viewers is not much different, with the biggest difference being Europe’s slight edge over North America. Asia still accounts for the majority of the viewership, with 125 million enthusiasts (or 58 percent of the international audience) coming from the continent. Compared to Europe’s 46 million (or 21 percent), North America is following very closely with 39 million fans (18 percent).
The esports crowd is still predominantly male (85 percent), with nearly half (46 percent) between 18 and 25 years old. This audience is expected to grow to 303 million by 2019, an increase of almost 50 percent in the four-year period.
Games, games, games
While there is no shortage of new games, established titles still dominate, and are expected to keep dominating.
Riot’s League of Legends and Valve’s Dota 2 are the prevailing giants in the MOBA field, while Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch currently dominate the FPS scene.
One very interesting development this year was the extreme success of Overwatch, a game that hasn’t even celebrated its first birthday. This Activision Blizzard product more than doubled its year-to-date revenue, reaching almost $600 million in about seven months.
CS:GO, a game that has been around for quite some time, increased revenues by about $260 million, which is also impressive. Both games have shown remarkable development and expansion in their competitive scenes this year.
Besides all of the above, Dota 2 The International 2016’s prize pool of $20.7 million, League of Legends Worlds’ grand final garnering 14.7 million concurrent viewers, and Overwatch’s 20 million registered players in under six months all illustrate how big esports has become.