Let’s Play: 850 Million people to watch games content by 2022
James R | On 30, May 2018
eSports is going global, as the number of people streaming video games content online is about to take off.
eSports (competitive playing of video games) and let’s play content (talk-throughs of game content) have grown to become a mainstay of YouTube, Twitch and other video platforms, with tournaments and tutorials both attracting a young audience of fans passionate about gaming. According to Juniper Research, the unique viewers streaming both rose to 630 million this year – and that is only set t keep growing, with viewing figures forecast to soar to 858 million by 2022, equating to 1 in 10 of the global population.
The new research, eSports found that growth in viewership will be driven by a surge in popularity of Battle Royale titles, where dozens of players face-off in a last-man standing format. Titles including PUBG & Fortnite encompass new audiences; introducing a more diverse demographic to eSports content.
With $100 million in prize money for Fortnite tournaments in 2018, Juniper anticipates substantial growth in Let’s Play viewership; exceeding 12 billion hours on YouTube alone, as players seek to hone their skills.
The research found that eSports tournaments are to use new funding strategies; in particular, prize pools will see a greater integration of loot boxes and content giveaways as a monetisation strategy. Loot boxes are purchasable in-game packs containing a random selection of in-game items.
Research author Lauren Foye explains: “Loot boxes play upon gamers’ desire to have the most prestigious and sought-after items, whether these be weapons or cosmetic goods. By offering these as time-limited content during popular events, tournament hosts will be able to drive substantial funding and interest from players.”
While eSports advertising has been the mainstay of endemic brands including Intel and NVIDIA, non-endemic brands will increasingly sponsor major tournaments and streaming events, with advertising revenues forecast to reach $2.2 billion by 2022.
Brands will seek celebrity endorsements of gaming events due to recent success with live streams featuring rapper Drake and popular Twitch streamer Ninja (record 628,000 views on Twitch), as well as Tottenham Hotspur player Dele Alli (25,000 views).