In this blog, we answer the question “what is eSports,” explore why the presence of eSports has increased so vastly in recent years, and the essential role that market research (and you!) play in its development and growth.
2021 has been a truly unforgettable summer for sports!
From England reaching the final of the Euros to the Tokyo Olympics, sport has been a huge spirit-lifter and catalyst for bringing people together over the last couple of months.
However, while all that has been going on, another kind of sport has been on the scene making waves… and that is eSports!
eSports has seen phenomenal growth in the last few years.
In fact, according to research by UKIE, the UK eSports sector has increased by about 8.5% each year between 2016 and 2019 – and is still continuing to grow!
But what is eSports exactly, and what role does market research play in this? Read on to find out!
What is eSports?
In a nutshell, eSports (short for “electronic sports”) is the phrase used to describe competitive video gaming, usually played by individuals or teams, and often with spectators.
eSports games that are played can include anything from fighting games (think Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Dragon Ball Z, Super Smash Bros…) to first-person shooters (Call of Duty, Halo…), Multi Online Battle Arena or “MOBA” (such as League of Legends)… essentially, anything that involves some level of skill, and can be played competitively!
Actual sports-themed games can also be played as part of competitive eSports, including FIFA.
Why has eSports become so popular?
There are a multitude of reasons for the booming popularity of eSports, but they can typically be boiled down to:
Sadly, many people are unable or find it particularly difficult to participate in physical sports due to injuries or disabilities. eSports offer a whole new avenue with which to get involved in competitive gaming.
What’s more, you don’t need to travel to get involved, and can play from anywhere in the world – all you need is a console, a screen and an internet connection!
As noted above, the huge variety of games available means that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Video games are now also higher quality than ever before – and rather addictive!
Like ordinary sports, eSports is a fantastic social outlet, with players connecting over video and voice chat in order to get the full gaming experience.
This might seem surprising initially, but there’s actually a lot of money to be made from making a career out of eSports. For example, the top prize at the Evolution Championship Series event (more commonly known as Evo) was $72,270.00!
How are physical sporting events and organisations getting involved?
Interestingly, a lot of professional footballers play FIFA and get involved in competitive tournaments. And, just this year, the IOC announced that there would be an Olympic Virtual Series running between 13th May and 23rd June ahead of the Tokyo games, in order to:
“Mobilise virtual sport, esports and gaming enthusiasts all around the world in order to reach new Olympic audiences, while also encouraging the development of physical and non-physical forms of sports.”
So, now we’ve answered the question “what is eSports” and explored its increasing popularity in more detail…
What position does market research play in eSports?
Market research is actually hugely important in the eSports world!
With greater financial and personal investments in eSports being made now more than ever before, gaming brands and creators want to find out more about their target audience and current players, and what they can do to get more players on board.
By conducting market research, eSports companies can find out the answers to questions such as:
- what kinds of people are playing our games?
- how can we make our games more inclusive and accessible to players?
- how can we attract a new and diverse range of players to get involved in our games and events?
- what do people think of our eSports branding? Is there anything we can do to make it more appealing?
- how do our games and brand image compare to our competitors?
- what sort of events should we be running our competitions at to appease current players and attract new ones?
- what changes can we make to improve the quality and enjoyability of our current games?
- what kind of games would our players like to see us make next?
Plus, many more!
… And this is where you come in!
In order to find out the answers to these questions, companies and market researchers need enthusiastic, experienced and knowledgeable eSports players to take part in their projects. In doing so, participants also often get paid for their contributions!
So, if you fancy yourself an eSports and competitive gaming whizz, taking part in market research could be a fantastic experience for you.
At Angelfish, our participants have previously been involved in a number of eSports market research projects (and been paid for their contributions!), as well as more traditional sports market research, including projects for sportswear brands and companies producing fitness gadgets and tech!
If this is something you’d like to get involved in, be sure to sign up to become a member of our participant community, and keep an eye on our current projects page and Facebook and Instagram pages to be the first to hear about our latest projects!