TV and Film Entertainment has always been the darling of Hollywood but there’s a new kid in town and he’s got his eyes on the bigger prize – more revenue than both TV and Film last year combined. And the new kid is called ESports. It’s competitive, exciting, intoxicating and at times, completely voyeuristic if you happen to just check into any of the live gamers talking, playing, yelling, comparing and basically socializing in their video game world.
ESports is an advertisers dream. TV and Film tried to do it with merchandising the heck out of their popcorn movies but there really isn’t anything to compare because TV and Film aren’t participatory and don’t make you feel part of their world. You’re just a viewer, just an audience member, and only for a short period of time. But put a game in front of any kid from the age of even five, six or seven, and they are hooked. And just want more. When my daughter was two years old, she loved playing a simple video game. She was captivated at two! Although a rudimentary hide and seek type of game, she instinctively knew the basics. What’s even more amazing about exposure at these young ages are the games become a huge driver to play and purchase even more. Almost half of any audience attending an eSports event will go buy content related to that game played. Talk about retention rates. Advertisers have the benefit of attracting demographics from kids 6 to 60, both men and women and when the kids are under 18, it’s the parents opening up their wallet and spending the money.
Films today really try to target the younger audiences in hopes they see a movie they like and go back again and bring their friends. But these days they don’t’ go to the movies as much. But the baby boomers and Gen X still do! Gamers are really solid 18-34 year olds. And almost half of them are college grads these days. The state of the gamer business is booming and growing each week. You can spend quite a bit of your day just reading about the eSports business. It’s the new media frontier all over the globe. And it’s about community. It’s one big club and you don’t have to be a huge fit guy who spends all his time in the gym, nor training in the cold or heat or taking special supplements. You just have to like to role-play, have good hand eye coordination and keep practicing.
And what makes a great game? Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t’ have to have the greatest storyline but you do have to connect with the characters. And you do have to enjoy the total experience of the game you play to come back to it over and over again. It’s important to have something different to enhance your experience which is what the successful games endeavor to achieve. It’s an ‘all-in” experiential
immersion into that world of game.
When I started to really learn about the industry I sat down one evening to understand why would anyone want to just sit back and watch someone else play a video game? Was it like going to a baseball game or basketball game or any major league sport? No. It certainly was not. And yet I found myself immersed in the banter, the competition, and the true voyeuristic experience of how they compete against each other in a game where it’s not the best athlete in the room winning the game. It was who mastered the play. It’s beyond physical. The competitive excitement of it all and how quick the game moves is intoxicating. And I watched and I watched and 28 minutes went by. Twenty-eight minutes!
So move over TV. Sorry Film. The new big kid is in town and he’s taking over and he’s not going to even have to worry about competing with you ever. Because the gamer owns the block, the city and the highway when you are just asking to rent some space from on the corner.
Don’t get me wrong. I love television. I love going to the movies. But watching a gamer in a huge arena or even from the privacy of my own computer. I’m fascinated.