The esports industry has experienced numerous changes in the last couple of years. Indeed, new video games and star players are emerging every couple of weeks. But instead of making the industry confusing or hard to follow, these changes have led to massive growth. And even so, the most innovative and impactful changes though may be yet to come.
Below, we’ll look at four fun and meaningful changes on the horizon for the esports world.
1. Collective Contract Renegotiations
Now that we all know the enormous profit companies can obtain from esports events, teams and individual athletes are starting to ask themselves if they don’t deserve to have more power over their working conditions and earnings.
The question of unionizing has hovered over esports for a number of years now, and it is beginning to appear increasingly likely that professional players will soon start to consider group renegotiations of contracts –– ultimately demanding higher salaries. They might also look into having more power over the creation of additional sources of revenue for the team, like NFTs fan tokens (both of which we’ll discuss below).
2. Minted Esports Moments
The validity of NFTs as a form of art may still be under discussion. What isn’t though is the unexpected value some of these pieces of art have achieved in the market, particularly as relates to sports and gaming. Given the capacity of fan hype to create value, NFT entrepreneurs have wasted no time minting clips from famous competitive moments ranging from NBA highlights to legendary poker bluffs.
The resulting NFTs have been sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases, and it’s a matter of time before famous esports moments are regularly minted and sold for similar amounts. After all, it’s not that hard to imagine that at least a couple of fans are willing to invest in becoming the sole owners of one of these moments. Some ultimately expect this to become one of the most promising collaborations in the industry moving forward.
3. Cryptocurrency Fan Tokens
A fan token is a fungible cryptocurrency token created by a specific brand, and which can therefore be exchanged freely by fans. What makes these tokens so special though is that they give their owner access to different benefits –– from free tickets to discounts on branded goods. The use of these tokens has expanded surprisingly quickly, particularly among sports teams but in gaming as well.
The key for the value of a fan token relies on how many people follow a particular sports team. Not surprisingly, famous European football (or soccer) clubs like Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona have created some of the most valuable fan tokens in the world. In the realm of esports however, groups like Team Vitality and OG have already signed deals to release their own fan tokens as well, allowing fans to participate in polls and influence some team choices. We expect many more teams to follow.
4. Local Teams’ Growth
Revenue from esports reached close to $1.1 billion in 2021. This growth was made possible by increased access to the internet in developing countries, as well as the emergence of multiple popular games that can be easily played on almost any personal computer, and even through mobile ports.
While the industry was hit hard by the cancellation of multiple live esport events due to lockdown restrictions, fans are getting ready to go back to support their teams in person. However, as esports become more and more popular, the demand for live events is expected to lead to the creation of more local teams as well. This will mean that fans become attached to teams and players based on location, and it should only boost enthusiasm around the budding sport.
The esport industry is a unique phenomenon. Everything about it is in constant change, and yet it only becomes more and more popular and profitable as time passes. The changes discussed above are just a few we can already see coming, but as tends to be the case they should only yield more enthusiasm for esports.