The esports industry is growing at a dizzying rate, with more and more hardcore video game players and even casual fans getting in on the action. There is a growing interest in watching people play the games that they are good at, impressing viewers with their speedy reaction times, strategic plays, underdog wins, and longstanding rivalries.
According to industry analyst firm SuperData Research, esports revenue in 2018 is going to increase by 50% in comparison to 2017. The firm expects esports to make $1.14 billion this year, officially making it a billion dollar business.
But which games will be driving that revenue? Here are three games with growing esports scenes that you should watch out for.
Fortnite Battle Royale
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The best kind of fun is fun that doesn’t cost you a dime.That principle is why Epic Games’ battle royale game Fortnite Battle Royale has over 45 million players and is why it could have a promising esports scene ahead of it.
The game puts 100 players on a colorful map and tasks them with being the last player/team standing. But players won’t just have to watch out for each other; a storm is closing in on them and reducing the playing field to a much smaller size. Those caught outside of the circular playing field will begin to take damage while those in the smaller circle engage in a tense battle of wits, putting their skills to the test to get a Victory Royale.
In addition to this intense action, Fortnite Battle Royale combines looting (shields, health items, and weapons are dotted about the map) and crafting (build everything from staircases to entire fortresses). Because Fortnite Battle Royale is free, the barrier to entry is non-existent meaning that anyone can download it and hone their skills. There is a growing competitive scene surrounding the game with esports clubs such as TSM putting together Battle Royale teams. Many more organizations are set to follow in TSM’s footsteps lighting a fire under the game’s esports scene.
The surging popularity of the game combined with the brand power could also see Fortnite Battle Royale become a lucrative game in the world of esports bets as players place money on the big name teams taking part in a competition. Players could also place money on how many kills someone is going to get and which team is going to secure the Victory Royale. Esports betting for Fortnite Battle Royale would be similar to traditional sports betting. In the same way that traditional sports betting works, niche bookies and traditional bookies alike have taken on the opportunity to offer esports betting markets.
Blizzard’s 6v6 multiplayer shooter quickly amassed a competitive scene when it launched in May 2016, with unofficial events taking place around the world. However, in 2017, Blizzard itself got involved when it launched its very own Overwatch League, a multi-million venture that aims to be the esports version of the NFL.
There are regional teams all over the world (from the Seoul Dynasty to the London Spitfire), competing to be the very best Overwatch team on the planet. Over 10 million viewers watched Overwatch League in its first week, indicating that the new esports venture is off to a flying start. It has an incredible amount of potential and it will be exciting to see how Blizzard expands on that in future.
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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the game that kicked off the battle royale trend in March 2017 and is what inspired Fortnite Battle Royale.
The gritty battle royale game puts players on one of two barren, abandoned maps. There’s the Eastern European-inspired Erangel and Miramar which is set in a dry and desolate desert. Here, 100 players will face off to be the last one standing, looting and using their knowledge of the map to take other players out.
The game is already a huge success, having made over $700 million in 2017 despite spending most of the year in Early Access (it had its full release in December). But in 2018, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ success could go stratospheric, aided by a growing interest in the game as an esport.
GLL and PGL recently announced a $50,000 PUBG tournament at PGL Bucharest that will place in April. PGL has also noted that the game’s success is “unrivaled” so expect more similar tournaments like this one in future.
With esports being worth so much money, many more companies are going to get in on that action, establishing their games’ competitive scenes. These three games on the list look promising but they are just a start.