The widespread and rapid emergence of the gaming industry has helped propel it into mainstream media. According to Nielsen, 64% of the U.S. population that is 13 years or older play video games on a device. Moreover, the majority of that population also tends to watch gaming live-streams or videos on large media platforms such as Twitch or YouTube. Specifically, 48% of YouTube gamers say they spend more time watching gaming videos than actually playing the game, according to data collected by Think with Google. The gaming media market has vastly grown because it provides users with an immersive experience where they can interact with the video maker and the community. Ipsos reported that 56% of YouTube gamers say the platform is a way for them to connect with other gamers in similar communities, creating a bond through gaming.
In particular, viewers mostly watch videos like “let’s plays,” walk-throughs, reaction videos, and reviews. Overall, the media segment to the gaming industry is massive because of the large audience appeal. Thousands and thousands of popular channels upload videos across different genres such as shooters, adventure, action, horror, strategy, and multiplayer. And while many of these viewers tune in for casual gameplay, the competitive side of gaming has also grown rapidly in comparison to previous years.
Competitive gaming or also known as eSports has existed for quite some time, however, in recent years, the segment rose to prominence because of astronomical multi-million dollar tournaments. In 2018, League of Legends World Championship made historic milestones and attracted over 74.3 million viewers. Meanwhile, Dota 2’s The International drew in 52.8 million viewers, while CS:GO’s Eleague Major had over 49.5 million viewers. Similarly, all three of these tournaments boasted multi-million dollar prize pools for which dozens, or even hundreds, of players would compete for.
Overall, just like any other media industry, the audience is key to the future growth of this market. And with the accelerating popularity of eSports, the industry is becoming a source of mainstream media for millions of people. As of 2018, the global eSports monthly audience was estimated to be approximately 167 million. However, by 2022, the audience is expected to reach 276 million, according to data compiled by Goldman Sachs. UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT), NVIDIA Corporation’s (NASDAQ: NVDA), Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA).
Professional gamers play at an advanced skill level that the majority of players cannot replicate. Generally, these individuals play a single game and practice for hours upon hours on a daily basis. For example, Epic Games held its first Fortnite World Cup this past summer, which boasted a USD 30 Million prize pool. In order to qualify for the World Cup, players around the world had to compete for coveted and limited spots. Millions of players worldwide went through several weeks of daunting matches, however, only the top 100 were able to secure a position to compete for the grand prize. Many players exerted countless hours of practice, however, even more, were unsuccessful. The determination to secure a limited spot is what makes tournaments highly competitive and exhilarating for audiences to watch. And as the viewer base continues to grow, organizations and media providers are expected to generate additional revenue streams. In turn, the additional revenue can then be used to create larger prize pools each year for tournaments. Consequently, industry experts believe that the eSports industry will rival traditional sports because of its growing audience. “I believe esports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry,” said Steve Borenstein, Chairman of Activision Blizzard’s Esports Division and Former Chief Executive Officer of ESPN and the NFL Network.
UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT) in partnership with GFUEL, Scuf Gaming and VIPbets, announced earlier last week the, “Gears of War 5 launch event. This event is a one of a kind event being broadcast live from UMG’s studio. For 48 hours, starting at 9PM on September 5, UMG will transform it’s streaming studio into a live events destination. This event will feature pro players and personalities from Gears of War esports in a format that hasn’t yet been done in the Gears of War community.
Gears of War 5 releases on Friday and UMG plans to be at the forefront of the launch with their broadcast and online platform competition offerings. UMG is operating a 48-hour live broadcast with a mix of professional players and influencers playing the game and working to climb the leaderboards as they rush to hit the highest level possible in the 48-hour timeframe. Along with this main broadcast, UMG will be running a secondary stream with those players practicing and having a more direct line to communicate with fans and competitors new to the Gears of War community.
The partners, influencers and professionals attending include FraNChiS, Soto, Ribs and have a total social following of over 6,000,000. To coincide with the broadcasts, UMG is running dozens of tournament offerings with multiple game-type options to give all levels of players a fantastic opportunity to compete.
UMG continues to add original broadcast content to it existing schedule of events. GFUEL, Scuf Gaming and VIPbets, see the tremendous value in the UMG broadcast viewer demographic, the much sought after millennials. ,”Our team is excited to be part of the launch of Gears of War 5 and bring a new activation to the GoW world that hasn’t yet been done for their community. This is just another example of our commitment to growing the UMG player base and expanding the Gears of War competitive scene,” said UMG CEO, Dave Antony. “The Gears of War 5 Launch event will provide yet another opportunity for UMG to capitalize on its ability to broadcast and distribute unique content to its engaged users.”