The popularity of competitive gaming — also known as eSports — continues to rise, and some predict that it may surpass traditional sports within the next few years.
Global brand agency Momentum today released a new research study that asked gamers about their media consumption habits and thoughts on the future of gaming.
Momentum, which utilized Twitch’s Research Power Group to poll more than 2,600 gamers across the U.S., U.K., and Japan, found that 53 percent of respondents think people will spend more time watching and playing games than watching and playing traditional sports within the next five years.
Momentum CEO Chris Weil thinks that eSports will overtake mainstream sports within a “few years,” and brands should to watch out. His firm estimates global gaming revenue to reach $90 billion by 2020.
“These results show there is real opportunity in the business of gaming,” Weil said in a statement. “The industry is huge and should be treated with the same respect as you would a top league football game. Whether it’s a live event or an online gaming forum, the experience should be the most important thing. The competitive side of gaming is going to overtake mainstream sports in a few years and brands need to be ready to become a part of that.”
The insight from gamers and Weil’s comments on eSports “overtaking” traditional sports like basketball and football is noteworthy. It remains to be seen if and when that will happen, but it’s certainly something to watch if the current trends keep up.
Traditional sports leagues already see the value of eSports and are getting involved. For example, the NBA is creating the first-ever NBA eSports league in partnership with Take-Two, makers of the popular NBA 2K series. NFL teams, meanwhile, are partnering with EA Sports to host Madden tournaments across the nation. Traditional sports team owners are also investing in eSports franchises.
Here are some other key findings from the study:
- 75 percent of respondents said gaming will always be a part of their lives
- 58 percent believe eSports should be an official sport
- 53 percent say friends often ask for their advice before buying technology
- 59 percent use gaming as a way to connect with others and say gaming has improved their quality of life