Esports will earn $500 million in revenue this year, according to a new report by PwC, the latest major financial services firm to report on the potential of the esports industry.
Predicting the future of the esports industry has become something of a cottage industry all on its own. PwC’s report follows similar research by fellow market leaders Deloitte and smaller firms like Newzoo.
According to PwC, better known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, esports is set to bring in $463 million in revenue this year, a 43 percent increase on 2015. That’s slightly lower than the $500 million estimate from Deloitte back in January.
PwC also conducted a major survey of the esports audience, with surprising results.
According to PwC, 57 percent of the esports audience describe themselves as “hardcore gamers” and over a third of them fall into the coveted 18-24 demographic. But PwC found that women were more likely to describe themselves as involved in esports than men—22 percent of them, compared to 18 percent of men surveyed.
The difference is just a few percentage points, but even if the gap is smaller or more even than the survey shows it’s a strong sign that esports fandom may not be as male-dominated as many thought.
League of Legends may still lead the way in regular viewership, but the PwC report also indicates that first person shooters may well be hot on the heels of the world’s most popular game. Among esports fans, 63 percent watched FPS games like Counter-Strike, versus 37 percent who said they regularly took in MOBAs like League and Dota 2.
When it comes to the games esports fans play, first person shooters again again came out on top. MOBAs finished fourth, behind fighting games and MMOs.
Of course, all of these findings are from a small sample size. Of the 757 people surveyed, only 20 percent declared themselves as involved or fans of esports.
Despite that obvious caveat, the report is encouraging reading for esports fans and for those looking to enter the industry. The audience skews young, tech-savvy and diverse in terms of both ethnicity and gender—exactly what potential advertisers want to hear.