Around 74 per cent of 14-35 year-old Germans have heard of eSports, according to the Digital Trend Outlook 2017 eSport (August 2017) conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Some 3 per cent of this group termed themselves “professional players.” A good 29 per cent take part in eSports, but not on a professional level.
EUR 790 million in global turnover by 2021
eSports hold considerable economic potential. Advertising revenues, sponsoring, entry fees for virtual eSport events or analyses of virtual games and sales of merchandise can yield considerable turnover. Total income from the German eSports’ sector is likely to rise to EUR 91.4 million by 2021 meaning average annual growth of 22.7 per cent, PwC predicted. Around EUR 790 million in total income can be expected across the globe by 2021. Advertising revenues generated through streaming platforms will account for almost half or 44.7 per cent of total turnover, according to PwC.
Twitch now in first year in Hamburg
One of the giants in the eSports’ sector, Twitch, owned by Twitch Interactive and a subsidiary of Amazon, opened it’s German-language headquarters in Hamburg about a year ago. Sumi Chumpuree-Reyntjes, Sales Director for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, noted: “Germany is one of the most important markets for Twitch worldwide.” Hamburg’s reputation as a games’ city had swayed the company’s decision in favour of the Hanseatic city, she added. “According to the Gamecity:Hamburg initiative, over 5,000 people are employed in the sector across the city. Many other international digital companies as well as several brands and agencies are also headquartered in Hamburg. That leads to swifter contact and helps recruit talented people.”
eSports and platform – mutually beneficial
Founded in 2011 as a social video service, Twitch focuses mainly on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of eSport competitions, as well as creative content, “in real life” streams, and more recently, music and art broadcasts. Content on the site can be viewed live or per video on demand. “At present, we have over 15 million active, daily users and over 2 million creators, who stream their content per Twitch every month,” said Chumpuree-Reyntjes. eSports play a special role as the activities and the platform are mutually beneficial, she stressed: “Prior to Twitch, the scene was local and fragmented. When we put eSports into the global limelight, far more people took note of the scene.”
10,000 spectators at ESL One Hamburg 2017
eSports’ tournaments have been in existence since the emergence of computer games. In the 1970s, the University of California hosted the first eSports tournament. The winner received an annual subscription to the Rolling Stone magazine, said Chumpuree-Reyntjes. “Meanwhile, eSports have become a global, mass phenomenon. In 2005, contests paid out a mere EUR 3.4 million in prize money. Barely ten years later, that sum had soared to EUR 57.9 million.” Plenty of money is at stake in Hamburg as well. During the ESL (Electronic Sports League) One Hamburg 2017, the world’s best eSports’ teams vied for EUR 1 million in prize money. Last October, some 10,000 spectators flocked to the Barclaycard Arena to cheer on their favourite teams as they fought for victory in Dota 2 – a multiplayer online battle arena.
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