In the digital world, advances usually happen faster than we can react to, and even when for years we have been talking about the great opportunity that eSports, or virtual reality present, few really believed in its success.
During the last decade, this two industries have taken off with many things in common, and others that are very different, which nevertheless coincide in a very important aspect beyond their great potential, and that is the unstoppable digitization of content and the birth of new forms of entertainment.
eSports, the professionalization of videogames and the rise of a new industry
Electronic sports or eSports represent an industry created around video game competitions and competitive video games, which have a whole series of elements derived from its professionalization, having become a regulated competition with events, judges, awards, professional players, casters, and much more. This makes it today to be a full-fledged industry in a current situation in which more people watch eSports competitions rather than the ones from the NBA or the MLB.
However, its origins date back to the 70s, and until the arrival of the Internet at home, the idea of eSports as we know it today, did not take shape, although video game competitions were already more than invented and experienced.
On the other hand, it must be noted that all eSports are video games but not all video games are eSports. Championships and leagues of the most popular eSports video games such as League of Legends (LOL), Dota, Overwatch, or Counter-Strike are held all over the world. The genres available in this type of tournaments range from first-person shooters, to MOBA’s or real-time strategy games, to the sports well-known global phenomenon, FIFA.
Already in 2019, the electronic sports industry reached a value of 1,100 million dollars worldwide according to the market consultancy specialized in video games NewZoo, and the consulting firm Omdia predicts that it will reach $ 2.6 billion by 2025, with the majority of revenue from sponsorships, media rights, streaming advertising and ticket sales.
The timely merger of ESL and DreamHack, two of the major players in the field of eSports, which occurred in October 2020, could possibly pave the way for a future in which eSports events blend with other forms and experiences of entertainment. Additionally, once physical events can return to the scene, a broader approach to eSports would provide the perfect testing ground to explore the options offered by technologies and advancements such as 5G, especially in the field of augmented and virtual reality.
VR eSports, A New Dimension for the Esports Experience
Image Credit: ESL
While the International Olympic Committee recognized that eSports have the potential to be included in what we classify as sports, it also made clear its desire to see eSports players adopt a more active lifestyle and find a balance between games and physical fitness. And this is precisely one of the aspects that virtual reality offers in the field of VR eSports.
As more people get involved in eSports, conversations about taking the entire gaming experience to the next level, gain traction. The audience wants the players to move and show more emotions, rather than sitting in their chairs for hours.
Virtual reality has already reached the world of eSports, bringing a new dimension to the term, and a new series of skills that players can explore and excel. Strategic management, teamwork and ease and speed of reaction acquire a new physical layer with virtual reality technology, in which we must crouch to avoid being shot, or we must forcefully throw a virtual ball against our opponent's porter's lodge.
Esports and virtual reality combine the best of technology, sports and competition.
Image credit: ESL VR League
Despite involving physical effort, VR eSports opens the door for new players and people to enter the competitive video game environment from an inclusion perspective. For example, in the VR League championships in England, one of the players who competed did so from a wheelchair, and was able to obtain fourth place in the classification.
Inclusion, along with diversity, are two of the keys to the development of future competitions as discussed at the Esports Rising event, with industry experts gathered by the companies Sports Business Journal and The Esports Observer.
eSports and Virtual Reality, partners more than competitors
E-sports and virtual reality complement and enhance each other. Virtual reality can provide a higher level of immersion, greater playability and above all a perfect platform for esports to create a healthier community.
Virtual reality sports attract players of all backgrounds and ages, offering a wide range of possibilities and a balanced field for participants. And that is also one of the goals we pursue as BeFootball, that football in virtual reality and in a competitive format can reach all kinds of people, and that is why we specifically created 1VR1, the first one-on-one football simulator in virtual reality that allows you to crate tournaments and competitions like in eSports, and that's pursuing the creation of new role in the football industry, the fanballers.
And we are sure that in the near future we will see how both industries will be increasingly integrated, but above all, we will experience how attention at the level of business generation will migrate from the player to the viewer, that is, a reorientation to the broadcast. We at BeFootball have already made this necessary change, integrating our own production formulas that will make the games more and more interesting for the viewer.
Esports provides virtual reality with a perfect opportunity to shine, and after steady growth over the past three years, now is a key time to get involved and partner in this industry that continues to gain traction day after day.