Presented by Xsolla
The global esports audience is 495 million strong and growing. And it’s surprisingly easy for developers and publishers to add tournaments, event streaming, and VIP content to their own platform to engage that fanbase. Learn how to tap into the opportunity in this VB Live event.
For the past six years, esports global viewership has been booming, with no signs of stopping. At this rate, the worldwide audience is expected to grow to nearly 650 million by 2023, with revenue expected to surpass $1.5 billion.
“Esports is one of the best ways for game developers to create a fandom and a following for their game, which in turn produces monetization opportunities,” says Berkley Egenes, vice president of marketing – game commerce at Xsolla.
The esports opportunity isn’t just game sales. The audience for competitive, skill-based games is growing, and they’re becoming increasingly mainstream: It’s not just gaming, it’s media, pop culture, and commerce too. And developers benefit not just from the size of their player base, but from the esports athletes who are the force of personality at the center of these games. They act as ambassadors, often streaming content on their own wildly popular channels, and encouraging their fans to follow along with the in-game action, which generates more fans and more players of the game itself.
Egenes points to the incredible success of Fortnite, a free-to-play game turned esport. It gained major traction on the streaming channels early on, and then developers embraced the idea of moving into esports . The 2019 Fortnite World Cup had the biggest payout at the time, $30 million. The numbers that Fortnite was seeing just continued to grow and grow, along with many of the top esports franchises like Call of Duty, League of Legends, DOTA2, Overwatch, and more.
To tap into the global boom, Egenes recommends partnering with platforms like FACEIT, ESL, and PGL which enable developers to host tournaments and offer competitive gameplay opportunities. These events attract everyone from pros to casual gamers, and generate massive viewership channels for fans to follow along — very similar to the way fans can follow the real-world sports of the NFL or the Premier League, and so on.
While a large enterprise game can develop its own platform, if you’re new to esports, platforms like FACEIT help you with everything from hosting and management to marketing the event.
FACEIT has 20 million+ players around the world. Developers that work with the platform are getting their competitive gameplay tournaments in front of those millions of fans. And by partnering with an established platform with a secure payment provider, a developer can create a subscription program and greatly expand their payment methods on a global scale, Egenes says.
“With the global scale of our payment platform, we’re able to help partners reach more fans and create more player engagement than was possible before,” he says. “Now players can compete in CS:GO, Hearthstone, PUBG, DOTA, Valorant, and other games through matchmaking tournaments, providing skill-based tracking, and anti-cheat detection – benefits that all of these subscribers are looking for.”
Players want to participate, entering tournaments in which they can cover themselves in glory and potential prize money, but to do so, they need to hand out personal information. Safety and security is a priority for these players and for the fans tuning in.
“Pro esports athletes just want to focus on the game – they want to avoid external perils when they’re going up against other players from across the world,” Egenes says. “If they can do it in a safe, secure environment on a platform like FACEIT, it encourages much higher probability of players getting involved.”
But the biggest question is, when is the right time to launch an esports strategy?
“It’s sexy and cool right now, but to jump in as your game is initially coming out, you need to do a lot of testing,” he says. “You need to talk to your community and see: one, is it something they’re interested in, and two, is there viability for your game to be an esport on a long-term basis. You don’t want to be a flash in the pan.”
The opportunity to get your game on the big screen, across Twitch, and talked about online is something that needs to be considered in any competitive game launch, he adds. And your strategy should be considered from a long-term perspective, even as the boom continues beyond the pandemic.
“It’s going to be exciting as we move from 100% online to hybrid tournaments and ultimately back to 100% live and in person again,” he says. “The point when we know we’re back in live esports is when we can put fans back in an arena. I’m optimistic and thinking we’re getting close.”
Don’t miss out!
Attendees will learn about:
- Creating a fanbase for your game and brand
- Rewarding gamers who are loyal players
- Monetizing the fan experience
- Managing payment processing simply and safely
- John Fazio, CEO, Nerd Street Gamers
- Speaker TBA, CEO, FACEIT
- Berkley Egenes, Vice President of Marketing – Game Commerce, Xsolla
- Steve Peterson, CEO, StoryPHORCE Entertainment (moderator)