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The future of Esports: Video games to be played at Olympics and Glastonbury by 2050, experts predict

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The future of Esports: Video games to be played at Olympics and Glastonbury by 2050, experts predict
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How big will the industry be in 30 years time?

With esports now a $1billion industry this year and its popularity still rising, we ask the question – what does the future hold for professional gaming?

A gaming stage at Glastonbury, giant sold out 100,000-seater stadiums and even a place in the Olympics?

That’s where some academics feel esports could be by 2050.

After exclusively speaking to the experts, we’ve created some food for thought about how the industry evolves in decades to come.

Gaming at festivals such as Glastonbury or Coachella?

As many event organisers now look to bring in wider audiences and test the waters, gaming could be on the cards to feature at some of the world’s biggest festivals.

With comedy stages, poetry and circus acts becoming part of the usual attractions, could competitive gaming be an outlet to bring in new audiences?

Lincoln Geraghty, Professor of Media Cultures at University of Portsmouth in the UK, said: “Absolutely, the crossovers are there. Comicon for example in the last 30 years has gone from comic books to games to big marketing launches.

“So I see a space like Glastonbury, that has a subcultural prestige with people interested in explicit music and the relationship of music and games, people might be drawn to it.”

Esports in the Olympics?

Esports games are already broadcasted to millions of people around the world. Last year’s League of Legends World Championship semi-finals were watched live by 3.9million.

But what about on an elite, mainstream level? The Intel World Open was set to precede this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics before it was cancelled, a stepping stone for esports to potentially feature in the competition itself.

Professor Geraghty said: “This is something the Olympic committee is looking at and it would almost certainly provide a much safer space for this competition to take place.

“Whether it be a massive tournament on the scale of the World Cup or be included in the Olympics in 30 years time, it won’t be unexpected and won’t be a surprise.”

 

All colleges and universities to offer esports majors/degrees?

This is unlikely, but not impossible.

There are already cases around the world of university majors and degrees being offered in game design and for specific games themselves.

As more people in higher education take up these courses, the novelty may wear off and that could lead to more awareness of the power games have on society.

Professor Regan Mandryk, Professor in Computer Science at University of Saskatchewan in Canada, said: “You can now go through college on a League of Legends scholarship, that’s going to change the cache of being an esports athlete.

“I would like to see the stigma of it being a “nerdy” activity change. It’s going to be hard, but it will happen by more people being exposed to different aspects of playing.”

Regularly filling 100,000 seater stadiums?

Whether it’s the World Cup or the Super Bowl, thousands of people want to be there to see how sporting events play out.

And this is no different for esports, even now.

The Spodak Arena in Katowice, Poland held 173,000 people to watch the Intel Extreme Masters in 2017.

“People see their heroes in these gamers and esports personalities,” Professor Geraghty added.

“It’s only replacing the footballer on the pitch with a competitor on your computer screen.”

He said: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see a football stadium or convention centres sell out to see a huge gaming tournament.

“As content creators increase in popularity, people will pay to come out and see them in person.”

 

To better the understanding of mental and physical health

We all understand games can be stressful and frustrating at times, but the techniques used in a lot of the technology is actually helping health professionals understand humans more.

Despite many negative connotations, studies have found games can actually help our mental health, but also be used to understand the physical effects of stress and recovery.

“Gaming can be very good for you. There are lots of ways that it can help you recover from stress,” added Professor Mandryk.

“It can help you disconnect from the pressures around you. It can also help you connect socially with other people.

“We’ve done research that shows gaming can actually combat loneliness.”

 

But, how do we get the best out games in the future within other areas of society?

Professor Mandryk said: “Part of the answer is to stop being so afraid of games.”

“This is a very powerful median that we can leverage. There is a lot of motivational pull and people are devoting a lot of time to playing games so why aren’t we harnessing what’s great about them to better society.”

eSports

Anton Bogushev is the new Partnership and Sales Lead at WePlay Holding

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Anton has re-joined the WePlay Esports media holding company. He will continue his work, now as the partnership and sales lead. He held the position of business development manager at WePlay Esports until February 2021.

His main areas of work are new partnerships, business development, and media rights.

“My main focus right now is attracting new partners for the holding. We are interested in cooperation with brands from both within and outside the esports industry, for example, the FMCG sector, car manufacturers, financial services, etc. There is a wide range of brands that could get many benefits from collaboration with WePlay Holding and I’m here to help both sides play a win-win game,” says Anton Bogushev, partnership and sales lead at WePlay Holding

Because of the worldwide audience of WePlay Esports’ tournaments, Anton will work with brands and advertising agencies from various regions. The new partnership and sales lead, being part of the business development department of WePlay Holding, will help the media holding company to develop its own esports ecosystem to the benefit of viewers, players, and brands all over the globe.

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eSports

Esports Premier League 2021 hits 1 million registrations

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The inaugural edition of the nation-wide Esports league, Esports Premier League (ESPL) 2021 has seen an unprecedented response among the gaming community with massive 1 million registrations and has just concluded the last user registration phase. The registrations for the event went live on June 16, 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Season 1 of the league is being hosted virtually for two and a half months. ESPL 2021, which has Infinix smartphone as the presenting sponsor, is being played under the aegis of a gamer-centric campaign #ESPLGameSeFame that encourages players to showcase their top game and get recognized in the industry.

India’s first-ever franchise-based Esports league for Free Fire, ESPL, is preparing for the Second Level of the tournament. Out of the more than 1 million registered users, about the top 400 players from 88 teams will move to Level 2, where the top 8 invited teams of India join the mix. This will take the total number of teams to 96 teams in the level. These teams will be divided into 8 groups of 12 each to compete for the top 8 spots. The top 8 teams will represent the 8 regions of ESPL.

At the end of Level 2, ESPL will have the best Free Fire teams from India. The scale of the tournament highlights ESPL 2021 as the platform for all the Free Fire players to showcase their skills. The tournament crossing 1 million registrations serves as a testament to outline the importance of the platform. This number also points to the gradually increasing interest in Esports in India. Most of the gamers signed up to take part in the tournament in the last few days of the registration phase and this number is a testament to the far-reaching impact and popularity of the league in the gaming space. Prize money for ESPL 2021 is a whopping INR 25 lakh. In the initial phase itself, the league has managed to create a strong buzz and catch the attention of gamers with its high-octane and nail-biting matches in the game Free Fire.

“The astounding figures we have for the registration numbers of ESPL 2021 itself validate our position in the Esports sector. We are extremely happy by this overwhelming response to the inaugural edition of India’s first-ever franchise-based Esports league. What these amazing numbers tell us is that Esports is set to create history in India — both in terms of its growth as well as the interest, it is rapidly garnering among India’s youth. Competitive Esports events like the ESPL are setting the bar very high and propelling the industry to greater heights. The second phase of the league has all the action and current scenario working as a catalyst for our league, so be assured of a rocking & entertaining season,” said Mr. Vishwalok Nath, Director, ESPL.

This phase has a lot more in store, as exciting live action will be available on OTT giant Disney+ Hotstar, Free Fire official streaming platform Booyah and Malayalam OTT platform Koode alongside official YouTube and Facebook channels of India Today and Aaj Tak and its websites.

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BLAST team up with Twitch and Amazon ahead of inaugural Apex Legends event BLAST Titans

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BLAST will team up with Twitch and Amazon ahead of this week’s inaugural Apex Legends event BLAST Titans – where Europe’s best teams will compete against each other for a €40,000 prize pool.

Twitch and BLAST will work together to focus on enhancing viewer and fan experience of the tournament through unique features like Twitch chat and Drops – that will reward fans tuning in and watching the second weekend’s Arenas Mode action unfold online.

As part of the deal, BLAST Titans will broadcast exclusively on Twitch, where the English language broadcast will be shown live from Twitch.tv/BLASTTV.

Amazon will own the ‘match predictions’ segment of the broadcast and social media activations, providing visibility to its Prime Gaming and online shopping offering. BLAST and Amazon will also work with influencers to engage the Apex Legends community throughout the tournament, offering a more integrated viewing experience to fans.

Leo Matlock, VP of Commercial at BLAST, said: “BLAST Titans is our first venture into the fast-growing game of Apex Legends and we’re thrilled to have two premium brands on board in Twitch and Amazon, this collaboration will help elevate the viewer experience for fans by integrating and capitalising on their leading channels.”

“Working together with this holistic approach will help bring another exciting dimension to the tournament, adding to our renowned broadcast and production. Apex Legends has become a popular game with fans and provides another opportunity for BLAST, Twitch and Amazon to further grow and diversify our esports offerings.”

Stuart Wettenhall, Business Development Director EMEA at Twitch, added: “Apex Legends has held a special place on Twitch since its launch and we are delighted to bring this event to our European community, providing them with a truly unique, live, interactive and engaging experience like no other.”

Apex Legends has proved to be an in-demand game since its introduction in 2019. In April this year, EA announced the game had surpassed 100 million players, a 30% year-on-year growth and its esports event viewership had grown in line with the popularity of the game.

The inaugural BLAST Titans tournament (July 23-25 & July 31-August 1) will see 40 teams, including the likes of Gambit, Alliance and NAVI, competing online over two weekends of action with a €40,000 prize pool on the line along with added motivation of establishing themselves as the best team in Europe.

The first weekend (July 23-25) will be a double elimination battle royale event involving 40 teams, which will be made up of the top 20 European teams on recent form, 10 invited wildcard teams and 10 teams via open qualifiers. The second weekend (July 31-August 1) will feature the top 20 teams from weekend one, facing each other in the Arenas mode that was first introduced in the game only last month.

For more information please contact Joe Lovelace on email: [email protected] or [email protected] or via phone: +44 7779602441

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