Esports Industry in 2018 by the Numbers

Over the last few 2017 business review articles, we’ve covered just about every topic possible. That is with the exception of esports. Well, now we’re fixing that by taking a look at how much the esports scene has grown, who the top gamers are, and more. This is MMOGames’ look at the esports industry in 2018.

The infographics used in this article were created by Filmora. The data was collected by NewZoo, Business Insider, and a number of esports dedicated sites. To make it easier to read we’ve broken the larger infographics up into individual segments. Not only does this make it easier to look at the data it means we can talk about each part one at a time.

If you’d like to read more about the state of the games industry in 2017, including top-selling games, revenue, and who is playing, I encourage you to check out the articles that have come before this one:

2017 Online Games Financial Review
2017 Games Industry by the Numbers
2017 Games Industry Revenue


Esports Revenue

The easiest place to start is of course with esports revenue. In 2017 esports revenue was at $696 million. By 2021 revenue from esports will reach 1.6 billion dollars. While it is certainly an interesting number, it would have also been nice if the chart had shown 2019 and 2020 so we could look at how quickly it would be getting to that number. Despite the lack of information from Filmora, it is interesting to know how big esports will be.

The next question that needs to be asked is of course, where is that revenue coming from? In 2018, 40% of all esports revenue will come from sponsorships which come in at several levels. Teams and individuals competing are sponsored and so are the events themselves.

What is most notable is that merchandise and tickets make up the smallest segment, not even managing to break the 100 million dollar mark. This means that esports, like other forms of entertainment (including gaming focused websites), rely on ads. Without those ads, esports may still be incredibly niche instead of the massive money powerhouse that they are.


Esports Audience Size Growth

Audiences may not bring in a lot of money through merchandise and ticket sales but they still play a vital role in the esports scene. After all, if no one is around to see the ads, no one will advertise. Filmora has broken down the esports audience into two groups: enthusiasts, the people who watch religiously, and the occasional viewer. The occasional viewer has always outnumbered the enthusiasts, though it is predicted that the audience will be very nearly split 50/50 in 2019. In 2017 the global esports audience was at 335 million people and this year it is expected to be 380 million. By 2020 it’s anticipated that there will be nearly 600 million people watching esports.

They’re also suggesting that there won’t be a massive increase from 2017 this year. Some of this is certainly down to the fact that the interest in the MOBA scene is dying. So with one of the major esports genres dying the scene isn’t able to grow quite as much as it normally would be. I highly doubt we’ll see any of the major MOBAs die this year, but the ones that have always been a bit smaller aren’t safe. After this year the esports scene will be stable again and continue with the growth you might expect from the industry.


Top 5 Games Awarding Prize Money

Since I mentioned the top games in MOBAs it only makes sense to now transition to the top games awarding prize money. This can be a good indication of how well a game is doing. So, on the MOBA front, you can safely say that Dota 2, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm are all safe for some time. This does leave the question of where Smite is at, it could possibly be number 6 for all we know. CSGO and Starcraft II are doing amazingly well, especially when you consider that they came out in 2012 and 2010 respectively.

Also, the amount of money being awarded for these games is massive. In total, we’re talking about $278,278,245.41. Nearly half of that money coming from Dota 2 alone. So yes, there may have been some talk recently about Dota 2 aging a bit, but that doesn’t matter a bit. The game actually came out in 2013, which makes it several years younger than the oldest game on that list. For the record, the oldest game is League of Legends which came out in 2009. I haven’t seen anyone saying that LoL is getting old.


Top Earning Pro Gamers

Finally, we leave off our adventure in money with a look at the top-earning pro gamers. If you’re wondering who is winning all that money we just talked about, you might want to look at these guys first. The top player is KuroKy aka Kuro Salehi Takhasomi, who plays Dota 2 for Team Liquid. He was the first player to reach 1,000 wins in his pro career and he’s also one of only 3 people who has competed in every International to date.

In fact, much of this top list is made up of players from Team Liquid’s Dota 2 team. The one exception on the list is Saahil Arora, aka UNiVeRsE. He plays Dota 2 for Fnatic. You might be sensing a bit of a theme here between all the top earners. UNiVeRsE was in fact crowned the top earner in 2017. So…it must have been a hell of a year for Team Liquid.


In the end, you might be asking yourself what you should take away from this article. I would recommend taking away these two things:

  1. The esports scene is still going strong and things are only looking up for the scene on the whole.
  2. Advertisements are the cost of entertainment in today’s world. So, if you want to continue to get great entertainment, be it a tournament, your favorite youtuber, or articles on websites please turn off Adblock.


Sources: NewZoo, Filmora


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2017 Games Industry by the Numbers

At the end of January, it looked like we had all the information about the business of online games for 2017 that we were going to get. So imagine our surprise when a ton of new data was dropped in our lap at the end of April. I’m a big fan of r/dataisbeautiful so I squealed in joy as it meant that it was time for a part 2. Up ahead you’ll see a lot of infographics and a lot of data as we look at 2017 games industry by the numbers.

The infographics used in this article were created by NewZoo and Filmora. The data was collected by NewZoo, Business Insider, and a number of esports dedicated sites. To make it easier to read we’ve broken the larger infographics up into individual segments. Not only does this make it easier to look at the data it means we can talk about each part one at a time.


Number of Gamers Worldwide

There are over 2 billion gamers around the world, a number that has been climbing every year. Half of those two billion gamers come from the Asia-Pacific region alone. In 2018 it is anticipated that there will be 2,341 million gamers. By 2021 that number will go up by nearly 400 million people.


Top Countries by Revenue

As stated above, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than half of the global gaming market (52% to be exact). That’s $71.4 billion just from that market. It’s anticipated that in 2018 China will account for 28% of all consumer spending on games. A majority of the spending in the Asia-Pacific region is in mobile gaming. Newzoo is anticipating that the mobile market in that region will go up $9.7 billion in 2018. North America is the next highest and the growth in that market has also been mostly driven by mobile games. While we do see the same trends in Europe, all told Europeans are less likely to spend any money on mobile games than North Americans who spend 1.6 times the amount on average.


Looking at individual countries we can clearly see that China stands out above the rest. In the number two spot is the United States, followed up by Japan. Japanese gamers, however, actually spend more on mobile games. The Japanese mobile game market is nearly the same size financially speaking as North America, however, it is working with about one-third of the number of gamers. The average spent per player in Japan is 1.5 times higher than North America and 2.5 times higher than in Western Europe. In Europe, Germany and the UK both stand out above the other countries in the region.


Who is Playing

It’s also interesting to see who is gaming broken down by gender and age. Gaming has for a long time been considered a form of entertainment meant for boys and men. But with 46% of the market being made up of women, it’s clear this isn’t the case at all anymore. As you might expect, this number varies greatly depending on the genre, but that’s something we’ll dive into in the next segment down. The 21 to 35-year-olds make up the largest demographic by age with 35% of players falling into that category. In fact, 15% of all gamers are women between the ages of 21 and 35. Surprisingly the 51-65 age range also makes up 15% of all gamers. This number is a lot higher than you would anticipate. But mystery games and puzzle games are very popular with this older demographic. Also, the advent of games like Pokemon Go, which they can share with their kids and grandkids, means older people are getting into gaming to bond with their family.


What Kinds of Games do they play

That brings us now to the question of what types of games are being played broken down by gender and by platform. Unfortunately, this section has a typo that is repeated several times and every time I look at it this is all I can see, GAH! Anyway, moving on to the data…

It’s clear that men and women have vastly different tastes when it comes to games. Sports appear in the top three for men on console and mobile while it isn’t anywhere to be seen for women. On the other side, arcade games appear on the chart for women in console and mobile and don’t make the list for men at all. Strategy games are the one area that brings, almost, all of us together. The only area they don’t make the list is for men on consoles. On the whole, women prefer a wider variety of games than men. Men only have 4 different genres on the list compared to women with 5. Shooters, which make the top 3 for every platform for men don’t make the list at all for women.

Women prefer more casual games on mobile than men. Puzzle and Arcade both being on the list suggests that they’re looking for fun, easy to play games. The type that you can play a level then go about your business and come back to when you have the time.

It’s also interesting to see that sports games don’t make the list for PC while they do for mobile and console for men. First, there’s the fact that very few sports games are released on PC. The last major sports game released on PC was in November. While other platforms have 22 sports titles released since then. But that only tells part of the story. If you go to Steam you’ll find tons of sports titles, but most of them aren’t very well known and come from indie studios. Sports games have never done particularly well on PC and maybe that has something to do with the people who own them rather than the games themselves.


We’re actually only about 1/3 of the way through all the data at this point. I don’t know about you, but I need a break and a bit of a breather before we keep going with more. So keep a look out for part 3 where we’ll look at the top companies by revenue, the best selling games, and more. Then the final portion will be focused on esports.

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