Most projections estimate that the esports industry for competitive video gaming will surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2021. Further, Newzoo projects the industry to maintain a 15% annual growth rate reaching $1.8 billion by 2022, with revenue flowing into esports through media rights, live event ticket sales, merchandise sales, and in-game purchases, but most of the revenue (69%) coming from event sponsorships and advertising.
The major gap in these projections is their underestimation of opportunity growth in mobile competitive play – not just viewership, but also app downloads, player participation and in-app purchases (IAP).
The future of esports will largely be mobile, which will further reduce barriers for mobile-first countries and mobile-first audiences, allowing even more gamers and fans to pour in. With mobile gaming set to make up 45% of the total global games market in 2021, its popularity is already spilling over into key growth markets, for instance in China, which already has a thriving mobile esports scene. Newzoo estimated that the country drove $385 million in esports revenue in 2020 and in December 2020, esports was also listed as one of the official events of the 2022 Asian Games.
Esports Industry Growth
While Newzoo recognizes that mobile is increasing in importance in esports, they’re largely focused on viewership, accounting for mainly sponsorship and advertising dollars. They’re underestimating the growth of skill-based mobile competitions outside of core, professional players – instead, the hypercasual and casual gamers who are increasingly interested in real-money tournaments. We believe these mobile-first