Image Source: Bloomberg
Even if you don’t know what a “split-push” or a “power spike” is, it’s hard to ignore how popular and essential esports are becoming.
The year 2022 was another successful one for competitive video games. At the Commonwealth Games, people from all over the world participated and watched, and there was a show and collaborations with Gucci, BMW, and Coca-Cola.
What will the louder younger siblings of conventional sports do in 2023 to continue this trend?
Esports refers to a variety of competitive video games played by professionals throughout the world. Due to this, activities frequently staged in stadiums and broadcast on television draw large crowds. As a result, experts believe that by 2025, the esports sector will be worth $1.9 billion (£1.4 billion).
The founder of Esports News UK, Dominic Sacco, asserts that the industry must accept major organizational changes before it can continue to develop and attract larger viewers.
Beginning in 2022, a consortium sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government acquired ESL and FaceIt, the two largest tournament organizers in the world. This transaction was valued at $1.5 billion (£1.2 billion), and it’s only the beginning. The Saudi government’s Savvy Gaming organization intends to spend $38 billion (£31 billion) by 2030 to transform the nation into a global centre for esports.
According to Sacco, the pact has sparked debate within the esports community. Some individuals are pleased with the investment because they believe it will help the industry expand. Despite this, he continues, “Some members of the LGBTQ community are hesitant to travel to Saudi Arabia for events, and many others have expressed similar sentiments. In the summer of 2017, a Rocket League team did not attend an event there.”
Saudi Arabia has been accused of “sports washing,” which refers to lavish spending on popular sports such as the purchase of Newcastle Football Club and the launch of the LIV golf tour. However, some claim that it is done to divert attention away from how it respects human rights.
According to Sacco, some esports community members believe that the same thing is happening to them, which diminishes the scene’s enthusiasm and excitement.
If the current trend continues, players, presenters, commentators, and event organizers may devote more time in 2023 to engaging in serious ethical discussions on which events to attend. If the fights that erupted when LIV golf was released are any indication, it will be discussed for years.
The place of Esports in culture
The key to growth in 2023 and beyond, according to the Global Head of League of Legends (LoL) Esports, Naz Aletaha, is to remember their loyal followers while seeking out new ones. But occasionally, the opposing side has greater goods.
She argues that it is more important to produce content that “hyperserves” the existing community and gives people a cause to care about the sport.
LoL will begin its 13th season in 2023. It is one of the “big three” video games, with Counter-Strike and DOTA 2. Players participated at the 2022 World Championships for a share of the £1.8 million prize fund.
It is necessary to assess the size and number of potentially interested parties. Aletaha states that over 600,000,000,000,000 people have played and continue to play League of Legends. That is a large number of people who could continue to watch the show and keep the numbers rising.
Aletaha and her staff do everything possible to make their sport appealing to those who are already familiar with the rules, the game, and the cosmos.
Through their yearly World Championship event, which Aletaha refers to as their “North Star,” they are able to convert this audience into more devoted esports enthusiasts.
In 2022, Lil Nas X participated in Worlds, the League of Legends equivalent of the Super Bowl. The person in charge of League of Legends claims that because these events convey stories, they will continue to attract new followers.
She states that the goal, unlikely to be achieved by 2023, is to make the yearly event as popular as the World Cup, not only because of the action but also because “they’re such culturally significant moments.”
Sacco concurs that set-piece events are crucial to the success of esports in 2023, not only for League of Legends but also for many other games.
He believes that hosting major esports events in the United Kingdom is the best way to attract public and cultural interest, but he’s concerned that other locations are currently more suitable.
In 2023, more sporting events will use virtual sports. For instance, Singapore will stage a four-day esports test event alongside traditional sports and the Olympics throughout the summer.
However, this development makes Sacco sad. Instead, he suggests that the International Olympic Committee determine what makes esports so popular and concentrate on games with robust competitive scenes, as the 2022 Commonwealth Games did.
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He believes the esports community should play these games before caring about the Olympics.
According to him, the Olympics require esports more than esports requires the Olympics. He argues this because the IOC wants more young people to be interested in the Olympics.
Whether or whether he is correct, 2023 will be another hectic and difficult year for professional gaming.