eSports have been raising eyebrows all over the world. The industry has become a massive success with millennials and young adults who enjoy playing video games. But nobody predicted that the process of watching video games would become so popular and profitable.
Obviously, there are origins stemming from South Korea, but the Western world was quite fast to adopt the trend as well. If you’re reading this maybe you have some connection to the industry. Maybe you’re a player or just a spectator. If you’re a player then you’ve most definitely been met by Russian gamers who have been swarming online games recently. So this should give the question of “How big is eSports in Russia”.
Big fans in Russia
Well, we did some research and were able to find some useful information, both about popularity and profitability. According to this article about eSports profitability in Russia, the industry for the vodka-loving country is quite big. If we look at the article it states that the official Federation of Cybersports in Russia was created in the year 2000 and is responsible for more than 1,000 events and contests. The amount of participants is also nothing to underestimate as more than 300,000 individuals have taken part over the years.
Although Russian players may be described as one of the most toxic ones out there, they usually turn out to be quite skilled at it. Judging by the winning prizes of some of the biggest contest it is obvious how profitable it would be for the players, managers, and hosts as well. What’s important to note is how much exposure the industry gives to companies who want to target the younger generation. You basically have millions of people under the age of 30 watching a single event, so as a company it would be in your best interest to sponsor it and maybe put some ads as well. These companies are usually connected to tech hardware, like Razer or MSI, gaming related stuff.
The figures talk for themselves as the industry was valued at $655 million in 2017 alone and is predicted to reach more than $1.5 billion by the end of 2018. This obviously creates one of the most lucrative markets out there, sure it may not be as big as other industries, but it sure packs a punch. The Russians are able to see this and are in the process of adapting to this upcoming trend of video game superstars.
Companies like Winstrike were able to accumulate more than $10 million in private investments as their beginning for the eSports industry. One of the investors Nikolai Belyi commented that Winstrike is aiming to further popularise eSports not only in the major cities like Moscow and St.Petersburg but also more into the countryside and less known towns. The Chairman of the Federation of Cybersports in Russia, Dimitry Smith also commented that he is expecting eSports to be a part of the Olympics in 2024, which would also drive the hype quite a lot as it would invite far more sponsors and investors from various backgrounds.
eSports and Gambling merge
As we’ve already mentioned, eSports is a combination of competitive sports, where teams face each other to eventually come out victorious. Well, some of these games have features that make them ideal for betting and gambling. For example, just as you would bet on how many goals a specific team may score during a Football match, you can also do the same with eSports on how many “kills” a specific team may score.
As with anything connected to betting, this is sure to take off as the digital nature of the industry could invite cryptocurrencies to the party. This is not exclusive to western countries in particular as Russians are swallowing this trend as well. According to listings on eSportsBets.ru the number of operators keeps on growing as more and more games are created with eSports in mind.
Where the industry will be in a few years from now is still a mystery, but there is nowhere to go but forward.