Digital sports games will continue to be played more and more on mobile in the future. That is the conviction of Wouter Sleijffers, CEO of Fnatic, one of the most successful eSports organisations in the world.
“Mobile is absolutely a trend,” said Sleijffers. “We already have a mobile game team that plays complete games on their phone or tablet, such as the video game Vainglory. Although doing so entirely on mobile still feels a bit weird for now, mobile is poised to become a real global hardware platform. But for it to become one, the ecosystem around it, from the number of gamers, the availability of games to mobile game development, must take some serious steps forward.”
The competitive playing of online games – from first person shooters such as Counter-Strike to multi-player role playing games – has grown into a global sport over the last decade and is especially popular with 21- to 35-year-olds.
The growth of eSports can also be seen in its global fan base which currently counts approximately 385 million players, nearly 20% more than in 2016. Although 51% of these live in Asia, those in North American countries – which account for only 13% of fans globally – bring in the most money for the industry: $257 million annually. This turnover is expected to reach around 607 million by mid-2020.
Europe is still behind the United States in gaming, according to Sleijffers. “With regard to the number of events and the prize money, we go up to the same level as the US. But looking at the interests of investors and brands, we’re still a good year behind here than in the United States. “
The Asian market comes third with respect to turnover but is growing the fastest, having increased in turnover by dozens of percentage points in the past year.