Gaming plays out as €1.25bn industry

Gaming plays out as €1.25bn industry
Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, a 26-year-old Twitch streamer, who makes €420,000 a month operating from his bedroom.

By John Daly

If the names Ross Boomsocks, Gross Gore, and Rezone mean nothing to you, it’s probably because of your age.

They are some of the video-game monikers adopted by leading players in the eSports industry, one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment sectors. It is estimated that it will be worth €1.25bn annually by 2020.

At the E-Stars finals at the 3 Arena this weekend, all the glitz of professional video-gaming will be on display to a live audience of thousands, while streaming worldwide to millions.

Some of these masters of the art of video gaming, who are aged in their teens and early 20s, earn huge money for playing Call Of Duty, Fortnite, and Grand Theft Auto. 

But most folk over a certain age are unaware of them. ESports, also known as electronic sports or pro-gaming, is a competition that uses video games.

These are organised, multi-player video-game competitions between professional players and comprise a number of formats, including a first-person shooter and multi-player online battle arena. 

“The league provides a platform, where competitors can test their mettle,” says Mags Byrne, managing director of Three Ireland’s EStars.

Launched in 2011, Twitch.tv, the main online platform for eSports, began as a minor site, streaming live content to an interactive audience.

Showcasing the skills of professional streamers — people who play video games for a living — the site quickly went from three million to 20m monthly visitors, and has since grown to hundreds of millions.

It eventually attracted the attention of Amazon, who bought it for €810m, in August, 2014.

Gaming plays out as €1.25bn industry

The Twitch.tv financial model operates on subscription fees and advertising, but has also mined a rich vein of revenue, by allowing fans to purchase items like custom chat rooms, or to have a streamer read a personal message during a live broadcast.

In 2017, Twitch.tv users clocked more than 355m minutes, watching two million streamers.

At 46m viewers, more people watched the Legends World Championships than did the US National Basketball Association finals. 

And the 2017 Dota 2, a popular online multi-player game, featured a prize pool of more than €20m, whereas the 2017 Masters Tournament operated a collective pot of €9m.

In terms of demographics, the average Major League Baseball viewer is 57 years old, whereas the average

eSports viewer is 25.

Shinggo Lu, chief executive of U Git Gud, a business dedicated to helping streamers improve their play, says: “When I talk to traditional business people about what I do, they have trouble grasping that people are getting paid to play video games and that spectators pay to watch them. 

"In the greater business world, it is becoming common knowledge that eSports is booming.”

Witness the case of Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, a 26-year-old Twitch streamer, who plays the popular game, Fortnite, and who makes €420,000 a month operating from his bedroom. 

In another measure of how established eSports is becoming, the 2024 Paris Olympics is in talks to include gaming as a demonstration sport.

More in this Section

eir teams up with Amazon Prime to offer customers access to the service as part of TV packageeir teams up with Amazon Prime to offer customers access to the service as part of TV package

Business movers: Award-winning Katie Cunningham joins BBDO DublinBusiness movers: Award-winning Katie Cunningham joins BBDO Dublin

Non-stop flight from Heathrow to Sydney takes offNon-stop flight from Heathrow to Sydney takes off

Connectivity’s vital role in future working life of rural communitiesConnectivity’s vital role in future working life of rural communities


Lifestyle

Jackie Turner, genetic counsellor, Clinical Genetics Centre for Ophthalmology, Mater Hospital, DublinWorking Life: 'I catch the quiet 6:15 train, a place to gather my thoughts and plan my day'

The repeat bouts of sinus infection you describe indicate you need to get in front of this annual issue by supporting your immune system.Natural Health: 'Every winter I get a nasty sinus infection'

The TV chef chats to Lauren Taylor about feeding his family and his kids’ ever-changing tastes.Jamie Oliver: ‘About 3/10 of our family meals are idyllic – that’s normal’

Yearning to turn your rooms into soothing havens? Gabrielle Fagan asks The White Company founder Chrissie Rucker for her secrets.How to create a calm, tranquil home – according to The White Company’s Chrissie Rucker

More From The Irish Examiner