A recent report issued by market research firm Newzoo overviews how the esports audience is engaged across different game titles. While many fans stay loyal to only their favorite game, many don’t even play that title, but rather just enjoy the content provided by others.
The report focuses on the current hottest titles in the industry, namely League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2. Included in the analysis is data from 10 countries: the US, Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. The places included represent an important, if Western, sample of the global esports fan base.
Fans are mostly interested in only their favorite games
While there’s a growing fan base across the esports industry, certain franchises have successfully locked in loyal fans.
Newzoo’s report says a huge portion of fans stay loyal to just one game. When combining fan bases of the top three titles, 70 percent of fans follow only one of these games. Far fewer fans spend their time on more than one title.
League of Legends tops the list — 60 percent of its fans only follow the popular MOBA. CS:GO fans are slightly more open: 49 percent of fans stay with the first-person shooter and don’t switch to other titles. Dota 2’s number is 30 percent.
The market research company predicts 191 million consumers will watch esports frequently this year, and an additional 194 million will tune in occasionally. This number has grown tremendously in the last couple years. The majority of fans are millennials, a demographic of great interest to businesses looking to get into the esports industry.
Not everyone who watches also plays
Another interesting insight found in the report is that being an esports fan doesn’t necessarily mean playing the games.
The report says 42 percent of esports viewers don’t play the game they watch. While it’s normal to expect that parents who follows their children’s games are not gamers, it’s interesting to see that watching esports has become a leisure activity for so many casual fans.
“Video content around competitive games, mostly in the form of esports, has created a way to alternate intense ‘lean-forward’ gaming sessions with a more relaxed ‘lean-back’ viewing experience, all the while keeping fans engaged with their favorite franchises,” the report states.
As the industry moves forward, fans have begun to view watching esports as an entertaining activity. Even those who have played in the past, but don’t find the time to play regularly, still follow the competitive scene.
“Due to lean-back consumption of esports content and fan engagement with teams and players, esports creates a sticky layer around franchises that keeps fans engaged after they stop playing temporarily or for good, with the goal of re-engaging fans with the game,” Newzoo’s report states.
“Even if there is no re-engagement, the size of this group of consumers justifies the implementation of advertising-driven business models by publishers and organizers.”