The European market for eSports, i.e. video games played as a team or individually at a competitive level in leagues or tournaments, continues to evolve, claiming the role of a new entertainment tool for a growing audience . All the details in the official press release dedicated to Let’s Play! 2020.

After consecutive years of growth, the industry is expected to exceed $ 1 billion in global revenue for the first time in 2020, but current economic dynamics make the reality still uncertain.

While the majority of players in this sector are recording growth for 2019, the situation in 2020 is very varied due to the health emergency, as the Deloitte report “Let’s play! 2020 – The European eSports Market ”, published in collaboration with the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) and Game, the association of the German games industry.

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The Deloitte study carried out in June 2020 with 12,000 consumers, aimed to collect primary data and information on the evolution of the European esports market. 1,500 respondents from each of the eight European countries concerned took part in the survey: Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. The level of knowledge and use of eSports was investigated, both from the perspective of gamers and that of passive users of content, such as streaming events and matches (the research also looked at the channels of eSports). use, titles and purchase intentions, with a section before and after Covid).

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The consumer analysis was accompanied by a new phase of investigation with 53 representatives of companies from organizations of the European e-sport system, with the aim of representing all areas of the latter: events , championships, teams, media and online platforms, publishers and strategic partners.

The growing popularity of esport favors the involvement of non-endemic companies (i.e. outside the sector)

Research figures show that more than 75% of esports-related companies in Europe saw revenue growth in 2019, of which around half (45%) saw growth of more than 20% over the year . previous. The global eSports audience grew by 12%, reaching approximately 443 million people across all channels, taking one step closer to the mainstream.

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Europe is one of the most active areas of eSports globally, after Asia and North America: 38% of the sample has already watched eSports content, with Spanish consumers (55 %) and Italians (53%) at the top of this ranking. Italy and Spain also have the highest share of fans compared to the number of regular users, as the percentage of those who watch esports matches at least once a week is over 20%.

The followers of eSports are predominantly young and well educated, a very attractive target for companies, which are showing a growing interest in sponsorship in this field, especially among non-endemic companies (i.e. outside the sector).

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“For non-endemic companies, eSports represent a real opportunity to connect with a highly sought-after target of Generation Z customers”, explains Andrea Laurenza, Partner Deloitte, TMT industry leader (Technology, Media & Telecommunication) . “These companies are starting to recognize the impact of esports on young people. On the other hand, esports organizations that succeed in building successful relationships with companies outside the ecosystem can find financially strong and highly attractive partners. For this reason, market experts consider the increase in the activities of these brands as the second main driver for the future growth of the sector, in addition to the increase in the number of spectators. “

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The increase in the number of spectators recorded following the Covid-19 pandemic

After the positive developments of the past year that have allowed industry players to imagine an optimistic outlook for 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the plans of the entire industry. Due to the restrictions put in place to contain the pandemic and the increase in time spent at home, there has been a surge in the number of viewers of eSports broadcasts, both on the internet and on television.

The most significant increase was recorded in Italy and Spain, where regulations implemented by the government were particularly strict, and where 44% of those polled said they had benefited from more eSports content than before the pandemic. More than half of those surveyed in Italy and Spain say they have played more games since the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions, while in the other countries surveyed, this share is between 30% and 38%.

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Despite the great attention paid to eSports during this period, only 43% of the companies surveyed say they can maintain their income level or grow their business, while 38% say they have suffered losses. “An increase in eSports consumption cannot translate directly into revenue growth,” comments Andrea Laurenza. “The economic consequences of the pandemic vary widely across segments of the esports ecosystem: some organizations have been able to adapt their business model to new circumstances, while others have been forced to temporarily shut down. .

“Until now, especially compared to other segments of the sports and entertainment industry, eSports has faced the crisis by creating advantages for fans and various stakeholders, thanks to the dynamic and innovative character that sets them apart. At a glance, the expectations that eSports could emerge as a pioneer in the crisis do not appear to be exaggerated, as many competitions continued in purely virtual formats when government restrictions were introduced, ”concludes Andrea Laurenza. At the same time, however, the significant increase in the number of digital viewers is partially offset by heavy losses in ticketing and sponsorship, as physical events have been canceled or postponed. It will therefore be interesting to see if the esports market continues to grow. in the medium and long term despite, or perhaps also because of the Covid-19 pandemic “.

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Source : Reddit