Recently, market research firm Newzoo released its esports trends to watch for in 2021. Newzoo has established itself as one of, if not the most trusted esports and gaming market source for analytics, trends, reports, and so on. The report focuses on 5 key trends that will shape the esports market for the year and possibly beyond that:
- Mobile games is already accounting for almost 50% of the global games market, it was only a matter of time before that transferred over into esports. In an area of gaming that has historically been dominated by PC games such as CS:GO and Dota 2, mobile esports like PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire have entered the top five most overall hours watched esports titles, even exceeding the likes of the big name PC games mentioned in peak viewer counts.
- Esports organizations are going to continue expanding their business operations and sources of revenue. At first, esports organizations and teams were following the model of traditional sports organizations, which is fine but the market and audience is different for the most part. Since, these organizations have focused more efforts towards building lifestyle brands based on apparel partnerships and content creators to bring their personalities closer to their audience to build a further connection to their fanbases. In adding content creators to their organizations, the teams can leverage the creators reach and audience to bring on new partnerships and sponsorships, while the creators get the back office and administrative capabilities of the organizations that they otherwise would not have access to.
- The COVID-19 pandemic stopped traditional sports from holding events, and at first from happening altogether. With this, sports organizations needed to look elsewhere to connect with their fans and continue to increase their audience base. A flurry of traditional sports teams have entered the esports world through partnerships, collaborations, investing opportunities, and several other experiments. Over the last few years we have already seen plenty of big name athletes enter esports through investing or their own streaming and content creation, as the world slowly tries to go back to normal, specifically in terms of sports, it will be interesting to see how the two industries continue to not only coexist, but benefit each other.
- With travel restrictions expected to be in place for the majority of 2021 at the least, big international tournaments that were once dominating the esports industry will be transformed into regional league play following positive results so far. If continued to be successful, this shift can become permanent with a smaller focus on international travel, and a bigger focus on league-based play and regional competition instead.
- The final trend which isn’t directly about esports is that streaming platforms that have been used primarily for gaming content will be used even more for non-gaming related content. That already began throughout the pandemic as lockdown measures prohibited people from being together, so they needed new ways to interact, and companies and brands needed to find new ways to connect with their consumers. Twitch and Youtube became the top spots to host concerts, political events, live shows, or even just a platform for like-minded people to group together and talk.