Jun 2 2014 - 9:06 pm

Esports drew 2.4 billion hours of viewership last year

As huge esports events grow to compete with some of the largest sporting events on the planet, a new study predicts that the global esports video market will be worth $300 million annually by 2018
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

As huge esports events grow to compete with some of the largest sporting events on the planet, a new study predicts that the global esports video market will be worth $300 million annually by 2018.

Esports viewing doubled from 1.3 billion hours in 2012 to 2.4 billion in 2013, according to the study from American research firm IHS Technology. Hours of viewing, researchers predict, will rise to 6.6 billion in 2018. For comparison, YouTube users watch over 6 billion hours of video every month.

The global boom in esports is being led by China, the largest market in the industry, and followed by the United States and South Korea, the second and third largest markets.

Games like League of LegendsDota 2, and StarCraft 2 have transformed the industry, the study said, while Twitch had a breakthrough year in 2013, more than doubling in size to 45 million users watching 12 billion minutes of video on the site. It’s easy to understand why YouTube has been eyeing the San Francisco startup covetously with rumors of at least a $1 billion buying price.

More than 70 percent of all esports viewing in 2013 took place online while the rest took place on traditional television in countries like China and Sweden, where major esports are broadcast via television. By 2018, the study predicts, online viewing will account for over 90 percent of viewing hours as traditional television gets squeezed out of the growing market.

“Esports videos have rapidly transformed from a niche activity into a widely-watched, global, cross-platform entertainment category,” Dan Cryan, senior director for IHS, said.

“Several factors are contributing to the surge in esports viewing. These include the fact that key game titles have reached maturity and game publishers are taking a major role in promoting esports competitions. Furthermore, esports viewing has been boosted by the emergence of online video platforms that are capable of handling large-scale live audiences.”

The single biggest catalyst to the enormous growth of esports is online video streaming. Anyone who has watched Twitch can attest to the way it’s changed how professional gaming works. Once upon a time, fans had to download big video files or read slow moving box scores.

With sites like Twitch, every second of every day is filled not just with competitive gaming, but also coverage, analysis, and community input. This is helping drive and sustain the growth of an industry that was on the brink of destruction not too long ago.

Now, even more explosive growth seems inevitable.

Video game publishers have still been slow to realize the advertising goldmine that exists in esports. Though World of Tanks publisher Wargaming.net is spending $10 million on esports in 2014 alone, most publishers have yet to aggressively dive into the market. That will change more as esports grows.

"While advertising in and around games has often proved to be a difficult proposition, advertising in online video is commonplace,” Piers Harding-Rolls, director of games research at IHS, said. “This form of advertising gives games companies a much better opportunity of accessing the advertising value chain in a successful and meaningful way and offers these companies a route to profitable return on investment from their esport initiatives."

H/T The Guardian  | Image via abtur/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Today - 8:57 am

Cloud9 and FlyQuest soar in NA LCS openers

After a weekend of exciting games, two teams remain undefeated.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9 and FlyQuest found themselves on top of the NA LCS heap after the first weekend of play of 2017.

Cloud9, who dispatched TSM on the opening day in convincing fashion, secured a second win over Team Dignitas on day three.

The match was a close affair, impressing many fans who were unsure what to make of the new Dignitas lineup. Cloud were able to record a 2-1 victory with Dignitas winning game two in just 33 minutes, showing that this may well be a match we see down the road in the post-season.

Dignitas did manage to pick up a win on their return to the LCS, knocking off Pheonix1 2-1.

Cloud9's former sister team, now known as FlyQuest, turned heads on their debut with a pair of strong wins. After beating EnVyUs on day two, they faced a team who have made four playoffs in a row—Team Liquid.

It looked like experience would count for Liquid after they took FlyQuest apart in game one, but the rookie side rallied hard. After levelling the series, FlyQuest took the third game in a lightning fast 25 minutes. In the final two games they kept Liquid to just six kills in each.

TSM rebounded from their loss to Cloud9 with a thrilling victory over Immortals. After two gruelling 50+ minute games, in which both teams topped 90,000 gold, the teams were locked at 1-1. Game three saw a much more assured TSM performance, cleaning up the objectives and taking a decisive win inside 40 minutes.

Counter Logic Gaming also opened their account for 2017, winning against EnVyUs 2-0. That loss and the loss to FlyQuest leaves EnVyUs struggling at the bottom of the table alongside Echo Fox, who were unsuccessful against both Pheonix1 and Immortals.

Jan 21 2017 - 10:55 pm

Contractz shines as Cloud9 topples TSM

Cloud9’s rookie jungler made a big splash in his LCS debut
Xing Li
Dot Esports
Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9’s Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia didn't just make an impression in his LCS debut. He blew away all expectations, and showed himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Contractz was the last cut from the Players to Watch list we wrote before the League Championship season. We weren’t sure how much priority Cloud9 would give him, especially with so much talent elsewhere on the roster. Still, we felt uneasy--someone not on the list was almost guaranteed to break out.

We just didn’t know that it would happen in the very first series.

In a rematch of last summer’s LCS Finals, Cloud9 and TSM clashed on the rift. And despite the star power that this matchup brings, much of the focus was on Contractz. He was a major focus for C9, almost a win condition in themselves.

Let’s see how he did it.

Jungle Priority

Due to the changes Riot made to the jungle in the offseason, priority has risen for junglers. More experience and more ganks means a good jungler can more easily carry a game. Cloud9’s coach, Bok “Reapred” Han-gyu talks about priority all the time.

Priority is a League term that indicates which lane has a strong matchups and should be a focus for jungle ganks. The player or lane with priority gets earlier picks and more attention from the rest of the team.

In a bit of a role reversal, C9 picked jungle to have priority in game one. That meant C9 players actively played around Contractz’ Kha’zix and made plays to get him ahead. In one telling instance, AD carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi burned his Ashe ult so that Contractz could invade and secure red buff.

Contractz rewarded that allocation by killing TSM ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran for First Blood. Cloud9 picked a risky comp that required Contractz and mid laner Nicolaj Jensen (playing Fizz) to snowball. Aided by some questionable team play from TSM and baffling itemization from WildTurtle, they accomplished that.

How would TSM react in game two?

A Lee Sin God

Cloud9 continued to give Contractz priority by first-picking Lee Sin for him (only one jungler, Rengar, was banned). This time, he lived in TSM’s red side jungle, playing around pressure from Jensen and top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong.

A well-executed gank gave C9 First Blood again, this time on Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. C9’s duo lane kept their own red-side safe, allowing Contractz to clear and run to the top lane to kill Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell.

For much of the series, Cloud9 exhibited superior team play and coordination, and Contractz was at the center of big plays. He is an aggressive, carry-oriented player and C9 enabled that aggression extremely well. Even when TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and the rest of the team was there, it was often C9 making the right moves, faster. Following a decent TSM dive in the bot lane, Contractz responded with kill after kill.

It’s still very early in the season, but this team has come together very fast. Their communication was superb as was the shot calling. TSM had poor performances from Turtle and Svenskeren, but this victory was still more about C9's macro-oriented team play, rather than individual performances. They will have chances to come back, just like C9 will have to keep their play high by continuing to aid their jungler.

Contractz just dominated what was the best team in NA. Keep this performance up, and he’ll find himself on another one of our lists: the end of split awards.