2020 was the year when the entire esports industry was disrupted by the global crisis. Massive events worth millions of dollars got canceled in CS:GO and Dota 2, everyone had to find refuge online, and companies across the spectrum started working on ways to adapt to the situation. And as a result, the esports trends for 2021 look a bit wild.
Newzoo, one of the biggest market research companies in esports, has published a report regarding what we can expect from 2021 in terms of esports trends. Here are some of their key predictions:
Mobile Esports Are on the Rise
Games like PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire are starting to generate massive viewership, rivaling those of CS:GO and Dota 2. Since China, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America are seeing an increase in people’s level of interest for everything mobile, mobile esports will inevitably experience huge growth over the next few years.
Esports Teams Will Aim for Diversification
As we’ve seen recently in Team Secret’s case, esports organizations are looking to break new ground and get involved in new games. Given the new titles, such as Valorant, that are on the rise, it’s hard to just skip and not get involved in the action.
The industry has been on the rise for the past 5 – 10 years. But it feels like we’re just at the beginning. So it’s not a big surprise that well-established teams are interested in everything that can constitute a real opportunity. Among the big ones, Valorant is probably the most obvious, simply because of the sheer size of Riot Games and its 100 million-strong LoL community. If 10% of that community starts following Valorant and another 10 million people are gathered from some of the other shooter games, Riot will have an esports as big as CS:GO right from the start. And I suspect it will get much bigger.
Traditional Sports Will Take Esports More and More Seriously
At this point, it’s inevitable. The shift has been happening for more than a decade but it’s starting to accelerate. The younger generations are at least as interested in video games as they are in sports. And from casual video games to competitive games or esports it’s just a step.
The next Dota 2 World Championship (The International 2021) will have a prize pool of $40 million. In effect, the tournament is as big as a Tennis Grand Slam. The viewership for these types of events is also huge, with millions of people following the competition and incentivizing companies to get involved.
Each esport has its own way of working with traditional sports teams and other entities from outside of the industry. In recent years, just in Dota 2 we’ve seen some big moves. Famous names like Paris Saint-Germain got involved in the Chinese region and are now in cooperation with LGD. In League of Legends, teams like Schalke 04 are represented in the top European league (LEC). This trend will continue in 2021 and beyond.
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