Sports like volleyball and field hockey, which are among the most popular participatory sports in the world, lack successful video game editions. Madden, the undisputed leader in the USA (4.6M units sold), sells only 11% outside the US. Sales of NBA 2K leapt 28% in Europe when EA added 25 Euroleague basketball teams. NBA 2K is now the 8th most popular video game in China.
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS | COUNTER-STRIKE | DOTA 2 | SMITE | OVERWATCH | STARCRAFT
Wagering was $315 million in 2015.
Sites like Vulcun, Unikrn and Alpha- Draft have several million eSports fans betting on eSports results and creating eSports fantasy teams.
eSPORTS FOR ALL SEASONS
There is no such thing as League of Legends 2017—the game just updates automatically, and everyone in the world is playing the same game. vSports’ reliance on up-front sales and annual editions means gamers are segmented. Half the audience for any sport is playing versions that are often two years old or more.
Most eSports are played on PCs, which can be kept current (i.e., today’s hardware). They run on dedicated servers, so the signal quality (“ping”) is not limited by your opponent’s hardware.
vSports are played on consoles that last around five years. Current 8th gen consoles, PS4 and Xbox One, are 2013 hardware, with only occasional firmware updates. Consoles use peer-to-peer technology for players to connect.
Level Playing Field
eSports fans laugh with disgust that vSports games are secretly engineered to make it easier for a losing opponent to catch up late in a game. They don’t consider vSports to be “real” games at all— merely “sports simulations.”
The prize for winning FIFA Interactive 16 was only $20,000. Madden 16 offered $50,000. These were tiny fractions of the prize pool in eSports. Realizing the importance of bigger prize money, NBA 2K 16’s “Road to the Finals” awarded the winners $250,000. Madden Bowl 17 announced a $1 million prize pool, which still would rank only 23rd in the biggest eSports prize pools ever.
We’re never doing sports video games. Never. It’s not what our community wants. We don’t consider sports video games to be true eSports.
CEO and cofounder of Unikrn, a leading eSports betting platform