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Computer Planet has published an infographic of eSports. We chose to sum up the study and to add some relevant points.

The goal: Add a level of understanding to this study to help you identify the actors to know on the eSports market.


What is eSports ?

eSports is a form of competition facilitated by electronic systems. The industry had been experiencing double-digit growth for several years.

It is an entertainment market that both Tech and Media companies are optimistically investing in as they see the potential for growth opportunities.

Nowadays, professional gamers have several sources of income: salary, tournament prizes or team sponsors.


The History  

The first eSports competition took place on 19th October 1972 at Stanford University for the game Spacewar. Afterward, the event, Starcade, ran between 1982 and 1984 airing a total of 133 episodes, on which contestants would attempt to beat each other’s high scores on an arcade game.

In the 1990s, many games benefited from increasing internet connectivity especially PC games. The late 90s also saw the release of the breakout real-time strategy (RTS) hit “StarCraft: Brood War”.

The major league gaming was launched in 2002 and is now the largest and most successful league.

Finally, eSports truly started to come into its own after the turn of the millennium, with the rise of both popular tournaments and the games that now make up the backbone of the eSports world. League of Legends (LoL) was released in 2009 and is said to be the most played video game in the world.


The games

  • Counter-Strike : Global Offensive (First-person shooters) : 6071 professional players / 1946 tournaments
  • League of Legends (Multiplayer online battle arena) : 4311 professional players / 1766 tournaments
  • Counter Strike (First-person shooters) : 2587 professional players / 572 tournaments
  • Dota 2 (Multiplayer online battle arena) : 1693 professional players / 645 tournaments
  • StarCraft II (Real-time strategy) : 1588 professional players / 3929 tournaments

These 5 games were the most played in 2016 by professional players. First-person shooters and multiplayer online battle arena are the most influential ones.


The events

  • 2016 League of Legends World Championship: The final of this event had 43 million unique viewers which is a new record in terms of eSports viewership numbers.

(Source: Riot Games)

  • The International 2016 (Dota 2): With a price of more than 9 millions dollars for the winning team, this Dota 2 championship had the largest overall prize pools in eSports History.


Professional sports teams, the newcomers

Since 2016, professional football, basketball or hockey teams have built eSports teams. Audience, new type of content and financials opportunities: eSports is a new challenge for professional sports teams.

“Our claim is ‘football is more’ – not just 90 minutes on the pitch. For us, esports was a win-win situation. We could be a first mover and create new and innovative content for our young fans at Wolfsburg, and also get more fans into eSports. We want to show we take esports seriously.” – VfL Wolfsburg Managing Director Thomas Röttgermann


The top gamers by revenue in 2016

  1. Li “Iceice” Peng
  2. Zhou “bLink” Yang
  3. Zhang “y`” Yiping
  4. Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
  5. Chu “Shadow” Zeyu

The top 5 players of Dota 2 of the Chinese team “Wings gaming” are the highest earning pro-gamers of 2016 with $1,923,666 for each player.


Computer Planed used highest earnings to rank all the players. This criteria seems relevant for Medias or new comers, but it is not to understand the market in a deeper way. We would have chosen to rank them with their influence or their audience in order to analyze communities which are currently building themselves around eSports.

In eSports, the next step is to understand who follow, watch, and listen these pro-gamers.

Contact Spawnly if you need some help in the development of your eSports data-driven strategy.

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