1. Increased player growth and viewership – While there has been substantial natural growth in the number of players and viewers of video games and esports, the Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic boosted this trend exponentially. Growth continued unabated even as COVID-19 measures were relaxed globally. We expect this trend to continue, particularly given the increased popularity of mobile gaming, which makes gaming more affordable and accessible for new participants.
  2. Growing investment in esports – Non-endemic brands (including multiple luxury brands) have invested in esports sponsorships, largely due to the demographics of the participants and viewers. In addition to traditional esports sponsorships by computer hardware and peripherals manufacturers, numerous other brands including apparel, luxury goods, and automotive manufacturers have entered esports. Esports is anchored by the much coveted 18-35-year-old market segment, many of whom have grown up with video games and have substantial discretionary income. They don’t view esports and video games as toys, but, rather, as a subset of the broader entertainment and leisure space.
  3. Increased cross-over celebrity participation – Many sports, film, and TV celebrities have embraced esports through team ownership, branding partnerships, and participating in esports events and tournaments. This trend, which is expected to grow, reflects that many highly influential individuals recognize the video game industry as another necessary pillar in their overall entertainment portfolio.
  4. Proliferation of gambling and corruption enforcement – With the increase in gambling in esports, as well as corruption scandals in countries such as Australia, South Korea, and China, enforcement activity to crack down on cheating has dramatically increased. In efforts designed to preserve the integrity of betting markets, authorities continue to crackdown on infractions, such as match fixing and point shaving, as well as account boosting, fraudulent transactions, and in-match cheating. The penalties vary depending on jurisdiction but can be as severe as those for illegal activity in traditional “stick and ball” sports, including suspensions, fines, or jail time.
  5. Industry innovation will continue to expand – The gaming industry will continue to embrace innovative technology and lead the way in adopting new and innovative technology as part of their core business practice. Whether it is through the use of digital token technology as part of loyalty programs or enhanced portability of gaming systems themselves, the gaming industry is consistently among the first to adopt and incorporate new technology and experiment with ways technology can improve the overall entertainment experience of its users across platforms and as a method to link across various entertainment mediums.