eSports is the next big thing for 2024. Already in the past few years, the demand for eSports has risen exponentially, with more people than ever either tuning in to watch tournaments or signing up to take part in competing. By the end of 2023, the number of eSports fans globally had reached 532.1 million, and this number is only going to increase as time goes on. As the industry evolves, we’re set to see some new trends and changes in 2024.
Gambling on sports is nothing new. In fact, it’s a popular pastime in countries all over the world. It’s only logical that eSports betting would be the next big thing, and it works in exactly the same way as you’d expect. The majority of eSports are competitive, so spectators can bet on the outcome of a game, the performance of particular teams or players, and so on. The only difference is that to place a wager on eSports, fans use online sportsbooks, rather than retail, and many of the best options are based overseas, as eSports betting isn’t yet too mainstream in the UK. The bonus of using an overseas gambling provider is that they offer betting without the gamstop restrictions, which UK-based operators and apps must comply with.
One of the biggest benefits of eSports is the convenience, especially for spectators. Watching an exciting game or competition can be done from the comfort of the sofa, rather than having to travel to a stadium and struggle to get a seat with a good view. As eSports enter the mainstream more, we’ll see a higher number of matches being live-streamed, therefore making them accessible to anybody as long as they have an internet connection! This also makes eSports much more affordable than traditional sports.
The Rise of Mobile eSports
Not everybody has access to a gaming console or a PC, but the vast majority of us will have a smartphone, whether for work or personal purposes. In 2024, it’s likely that mobile app developers will tap into this market and a new genre of games will be created: mobile eSports. At the moment, some of the most popular eSports tournaments centre on games like League of Legends, Call of Duty, and FIFA, which all require a PC or console. The rise of mobile games will change this trend and introduce eSports to a wider group of people.
Women in eSports
The gaming industry in general is pretty inclusive, with almost half of gamers being female, but the number of women in professional or amateur eSports tournaments are few and far between. Of course, this needs to change in order to reflect reality and promote gender equality. Lots of initiatives are in place for 2024 to make this happen, such as the VCT Game Changers Programme, set up by Riot Games, which is solely for female gamers in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Formula One has also established the F1 eSports Series Women’s Wildcard, as disappointingly there has never been a woman involved in F1 eSports.
Collaboration with Mainstream Sports
As eSports grows, it’s more likely that we’ll see collaborations with traditional sports in 2024. Lots of people who may not have been fans of sports usually are passionate about eSports, particularly younger people. Major sports leagues, such as the NBA and F1, are keen to monopolise on this, and partner with eSports to make their events more inclusive. The NBA has created a video game competition as part of its All-Star Weekend, and F1 has started to promote a virtual racing championship.
eSports and the Olympics
Perhaps we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves predicting eSports inclusion in the 2024 Olympics, but you never know! Already, eSports pilot events were included in the UK 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2022 Asian Games in China. We may see a similar pilot test in the Paris Olympic Games, and if not, it’ll definitely be something to watch out for in 2028.
These predictions are just a handful of what’s in store for eSports in 2024. The number of people playing and watching virtual sports is growing daily, and more and more companies are seeing the advantages of supporting eSports developers and gamers. One thing we are sure of is that 2024 is going to see eSports enter the mainstream.