Global Head of Content, The Bett Show
When mainstream sports stars such as David Beckham and Michael Jordan invest in esports it’s time to pay attention to an industry that is growing exponentially.
Most of us know someone who watches people playing competitive video games on YouTube or Twitch, but few of us understand the point of esports. The top 10 gamers on YouTube have a combined subscriber base of over 400 million. So, what are we missing?
The British Esports Association defines esports as organised video gaming. It’s different from standard video gaming as it is human-vs-human and usually has an engaging spectator element to it, like traditional sports. During the pandemic the phenomenon has come into its own, providing online playgrounds for young people isolated from their peers, allowing them to communicate, make friends and have fun.
During the pandemic the phenomenon has come into its own, providing online playgrounds for young people isolated from their peers, allowing them to communicate, make friends and have fun.
New industry, new careers
With big investors piling in and huge growth predictions, esports is a serious business. The British Esports Association estimate that the video games industry was worth about $60.6 billion in 2020, with the global games audience estimated at 2.7 billion.
The gaming and esports job platform Hitmarker posted over 6,600 esports jobs in 2020. Now, they are posting around 110 new esports job opportunities a week including roles for commentators, event managers, journalists, content creators, photographers, coaches, sales and marketing executives. The education community is also getting involved – the British Esports Association partnered with Pearson to create the world’s first qualification for a career in esports and many universities are now offering courses in esports. Microsoft’s Minecraft Education Edition uses gaming to teach subjects from maths to geography and coding. But esports goes way beyond traditional teaching, it’s also a way to build transferable skills that are sought-after in the workplace. Research shows that competing in an esports league can help promote character development, increase cognitive skills, boost social and communication skills, provide cyber and digital education, improve concentration and increase student attendance levels.