The last two years have been exceptional for esports. Champions have accomplished feats worthy of the greatest athletes. Competitions have proved themselves to be as relevant as the most famous sport tournaments. The press fully took on the topic of esports, and all the media are trying to reach this new audience, to speak their language. As expected, everyone is now fighting over tournaments’ broadcasting rights ! Riot Games has recently signed a $300 million deal authorizing the exploitation of their championship. But despite all that, we should not be looking back at those years with a big smile on our face, because 2017 will be crucial for electronic sports.
This year will be – and must be – the year of consolidation. At last, all eyes are on the people who have been involved in esports. It is now an attractive sector for a lot of big fish. Investments have gone up to such an extent that the field is on the verge of undergoing the impact of an economic bubble. The situation is calling for caution, and there are many concerns.
2017 will be the year of the first results. Economically, the capitals that were injected over the last two years will have to pay dividends, at risk of slowing down investments. Politically, our emerging field will need to be structured in order to pursue its growth. Throughout the globe, all the ongoing projects need to materialize. Abroad, organizations such as WESA or IeSF have to weigh in. In France, the projects aiming to give the players a legal status need to become a reality. The same goes with France Esport’s desire to open up to grassroots associations.
Finally, all the media trying to set foot in the land of esport will have to adapt to their audience. Contrary to what some market studies can pretend, this shall be a difficult task. For TV channels, this is a completely new audience to appeal to. Getting to know a community, choosing the right words… those are things that take time.
This last point is paramount. Companies willing to invest in esports will need to respect the players’ communities. It is essential to understand that gamers are driven by passion, and that they are not to be viewed as mere consumers. The gaming generation has grown up with the internet, hence their acute awareness of the industry. We must always remember that gamers are the ones who can make and unmake success stories.
After a period of inactivity, Smartcast is back on track. We look forward to the new perspectives that 2017 has to offer, but will stay true to our values : ethics, transparency and independence. We want to inform with a fresh, different angle. Welcome to Quentin, Clément, Robin and Laure, who are joining our editorial board.
Translation by Clément Authié