Anorak News | What’s driving the European esports industry?

What’s driving the European esports industry?

by | 22nd, May 2020

Esports has become a huge global industry, mostly due to the interest and opportunities it has taken advantage of in North America and Asia. Until recently, esports in these continents dwarfed what Europe had to offer, a continent which was yet to fully embrace esports. However, that is starting to change… 

Below, we profile some of the most exciting things happening in the European esports industry as it seeks to become as successful in Europe as it has been in North America and Asia.

According to research from Netherlands-based esports research company Newzoo, Europe accounted for about 20% of the global esports audience in 2017, putting it up there with North America and Asia as the biggest esports markets. Newzoo has also compiled a breakdown of the top 10 revenue estimates per country for 2019, with the respective revenues of the countries reflecting the dominance of the continents they belong to. China (perhaps unsurprisingly with the planet’s largest population) generated the largest revenue ($36,540 million) which was closely followed by the USA ($35,510 million). Europe’s biggest market, by contrast, is Germany, which generated just $5,721 million.

Seeing the success and rapid pace of growth in North America and Asia has attracted many influential and ambitious people to the industry, such as investors Tej Kohli and Ian Livingstone. In order to support the industry, Kohli has launched a €50 million investment fund to amplify the industry to new heights, which will also benefit from the expertise and experience of Sam Cooke, the managing director and co-founder of Esports Insider.

Livingstone is part of new London-based VC firm Hiro Capital which has launched a €100 million fund to ‘back UK & European leaders in the games and esports industry’. Livingstone has a reputation as one of the most successful businessmen in the games industry already, being the former chairman of Eidos (publisher of Tomb Raider) and a successful angel investor in game developers Playdemic, Fusebox and Mediatonic.

In February 2020, the European Esports Federation (EEF) was launched, bringing together European organisations, teams and players and representing over 100 million gamers. Headquartered in Brussels, the EEF will bring together 23 national esports associations, including the UK, and three of the most important esports stakeholders – ESL, ESFORCE and Burson Cohn & Wolfe. During a two-day congress in February 2020, the EEF elected its first president, Germany’s Hans Jagnow, as well as the vice-president, board members and committees. The EEF will seek to promote positive values in the industry, such as sustainability, inclusivity and responsibility and provide a platform for their members (the national associations) to grow. 

Esports’s rise has led to a number of new initiatives and activities allowing young people to get in on the action. A Virtual Reality Esports league for students has launched in Europe, which will allow students aged 13 and up, or alumni who have graduated within the previous three years, to participate in the Collegiate VR Esports League (CVRE). The CVRE was launched in 2018 by a group of American college students, who recognised the need for a league that catered to their particular needs. The student behind the CRVE, 21-year-old Manuel Bäuerle, has said that his motivation behind setting up the league is to push forward innovation and boundaries within VR, as well as offering opportunities to as many young people as possible. 

This has also extended into British universities allowing opportunities for young people to study various things in the esports sector. Staffordshire University was the first to offer a university degree in the UK, with a course focused on the business and event management aspect of esports. On top of learning about the culture of esports and how to develop small and large-scale events, students will be able to benefit from Staffordshire’s ‘esports lab’ and ‘pro-gamer training facility’. Other universities have followed since, with the University of York, Teesside University and the University of Chichester all now offering esports-related courses, with more universities having announced plans to set similar things up in the future.

There are even dedicated, purpose-built esports arenas in Europe now which are rivalling the best in the world. Swedish organisation Space has started work on what will be Europe’s largest dedicated esports facility. The arena will be located in Stockholm, and will contain an 800-seat auditorium for hosting esports events, although the site will be predominantly used as a gaming “hub”. Included in the 7,500-square-metre site will be 500 ‘gaming stations’ which will be fitted with PCs consoles and VR gaming equipment, co-working spaces and music, video and podcast production facilities.

The stories mentioned above are just some examples of the many things happening in the European esports industry. The more the industry is invested into and the more people get involved, the more it can be expected to grow further – don’t be surprised to be hearing more about European esports in the near future. 

Posted: 22nd, May 2020 | In: Online-PR Comment | TrackBack | Permalink