Believe it or not, the audience for competitive video gaming leagues is expected to surpass that of the NFL by 2022. The esports sector is predicted to have expanded to $2.3 billion in 2022, up from $1.4 billion in 2017. Despite relying heavily on live competitive gaming tournaments, esports effectively moved many of their live events online in 2021, while the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on other live-entertainment firms. The future looks bright for the industry and here are some predictions on the direction it will take in 2022.
The dawn of Metaverse
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, which owns platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, said on October 28 that the company would be renamed Meta Platforms Inc. This news has sent a ripple throughout the Internet and made many online-based industries prepare for the shift. However, there has been little discussion of where the metaverse’s basic technologies ( augmented and virtual reality) could be headed. Being ahead of the curve, the esports sector as Dubit, a virtual video game studio, has bought US$8 million in investment money to start the Metaverse Gaming League (MGL), last year, ushering the Metaverse, a virtual reality universe, into the industry. In Dubit’s MGL, esports players and teams will participate in a simulated virtual universe in form of their avatars. This is made possible through a mix of 3D technology, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and ultra-high-speed Internet access. It allows players to connect, socialize, and engage themselves in the same way they would in real life in real time and on a scaled, uninterrupted basis.
Crypto expansion into the gaming world
2021 was the year when crypto and gaming merged, resulting in massive blockbusters like Axie Infinity and a new surge of excitement about blockchain gaming and NFTs. There was also a lot of criticism, with players expressing strong opposition to a future defined by play-to-earn games, bitcoin tokens, and other get-rich-quick schemes based on the decentralization push. Valve, the largest PC retailer, has prohibited crypto- and NFT-based games, thereby halting NFT growth on the platform ( causing Epic to try and exploit the opportunity). South Korea has also prohibited crypto-based games from Google Play and the iOS App Store, stifling growth in one of the world’s most lucrative mobile markets. Many more firms are expected to enter the blockchain gaming sector in 2022. VCs are pouring money into the field, including millions from Andreessen Horowitz’s Web3 evangelists, and the financial incentives built into NFTs and play-to-earn are already showing popular among the younger generations and people in underdeveloped countries.
More incentives for the players
While the popularity of eSports in the coming year will be determined by outside factors, there are steps that eSports operators may do to help enhance the industry’s and their platforms’ appeal on their own. Rewards incentives and loyalty programs are some of the most effective strategies to attract and keep members, and a good entertainment website and video game tournament organizer employs them. Teens and young adults can profit from esports while increasing their repertoire of digital skills and exploring new occupations, from getting a foot in the door at prominent gaming firms to better cognitive acuity and coordination. There are 175 institutions with varsity esports programs (something that was nearly unheard of just a few years ago) where players can get a degree in esports, thus college scholarship chances are on the table.
Celebrity And Athlete Investments
Sponsorships and advertising are the most lucrative aspects of the eSports sector. They account for $641 million, which is expected to rise to $1.4 billion by 2021. 2022 will require more celebrity engagement and investment in order to continue this growth and become a global sport. Given that some high-net-worth entrepreneurs and athletes now are participating in the sector, this isn’t an unreasonable ambition. Mike Tyson, Drake, and Shaquille O’Neal, for example, have invested in eSports as the sector expands deeper into popular media.