What do you think when you hear the word E-Sports? If you’ve been around a little while, you probably think of sold out stadiums with professional shoutcasters screaming at the top of their lungs while analysts explain the thought that goes behind the most exciting moments in games. You probably think of moments such as Faker’s famous Zed one on one or the Six Million Dollar Echo Slam or maybe even older moments like Street Fighter Moment 37. But for some people, when they hear the word E-Sports, they think of the future and a massive industry with large room for growth and improvement, but that’s broad, isn’t it? So what really is the future of E-Sports in a more specific light?
It’s easy to say that E-Sports will become more financially lucrative as time goes on, given that it’s a trend that’s already evident, you look at the salaries in place for LoL teams (All of whom are paid more than the base salary) and the prize pool for The International, which has increased every year. How could this possibly get more lucrative? Well, that’s simple, and inevitable. Sponsorship. The more lucrative sponsorships become for the teams and players, the more money that will be made and circulate in the E-Sports economy. Already one can see endorsements from professional gamers on mice and keyboard boxes, not to mention the bigger sponsorship placements, such as a whole team named “Roccat” (Manufacturer of computer accessories). Still, expect these to become even larger, more than teams, expect to see sponsored leagues and tournaments, don’t be shocked to find ESPN or Coca-Cola sponsoring “Plays of the Game” or entire tournaments themselves, for that matter.
Why is this inevitable? Because of exposure and money. I am more ashamed than I should be to say that I’ve bought items just because of the faces on them, or the endorsements they had, and not because of any personal preference, and there are other people like me. This means more money for companies, more exposure for products and more sponsoring for players or teams (A simplified way to explain the cycle) , which in turn bloats the amount of money in the E-Sports economy and makes a career in it more lucrative over time.
Alright so more money, well, now that you look back, that seems a little obvious, doesn’t it? If it was going to continue to go on, people had to make more money, right? True, but there’s more than just increased income involved in the future, there’s also increased regulation. As it stands, E-Sports have a bunch of separate leagues and organizers, making for a million different rules depending on where you play, ESL has different rules for it’s tournaments than CEO does, for example. Well, over time, these rules will become more and more dictated by sponsors, especially as franchising becomes a more relevant thing in professional gaming (LCS, we’re looking at you). Why would this happen? Because, sponsors have pull, and they need the players or teams they sponsor to have a certain image.
Now, before you get up in arms about how sense of self is being put down, realize, these rules aren’t going to be “No trashtalking, no dirty looks” kind of rules, if that was the case, a portion of the NFL (A franchised, sponsored League) wouldn’t be able to play the game. No these rules are likely to be performance based. No drugs that increase attention and reaction, and no coming to the studios inebriated, are the type of rules we’re looking at. Well worth it for the increase in salary, right?
That’s what I see in the future of E-Sports, do you agree or disagree? Let me know! And thanks for reading.
Written by Tiras Carr
Tiras Carr is an E-Sports enthusiast and veteran of many scenes, being an analyst of League of Legends, DoTA 2, Overwatch and a High Ranking player of Hearthstone. He’s been involved in E-Sports since the tournament days of Street Fighter: 3rd Strike and has been enthralled ever since going on to do amateur analysis for games like Guilty Gear, Halo’s 1-5 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.