In May 2019, the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational, set in Chinese Taipei and Vietnam, drew peak viewership north of 1.7 million. The massive audience watched in near real-time as G2 Esports claimed the title, knocking off Team Liquid 3-0 in the finals.
Production for the event was done remotely, thousands of miles away in Riot Games’ studio in Los Angeles. Via a mix of local internet providers in combination with Riot Direct, the company’s privately owned global internet network, video and audio HD feeds were sent from Asia to L.A., where the feeds were edited, finalized for broadcast and sent back to streaming and broadcast partners throughout the world.
During this 80-minute recording of the session, leading video games and esports experts will help you better understand how traditional media is being complemented and disrupted by the rapid growth in competitive gaming.
Produced in association with Telstra and Telstra Ventures, discussions centre around how video games and esports content can help grow and engage audiences, the changing workflows for content creation and distribution, and how network demands, costs and regional complexity influence the production, testing and public release of games globally.
[caption id="attachment_116826" align="alignright" width="288"] Yash Patel, General Partner at Telstra Ventures[/caption] When we announced back in 2018 that we had made an investment in the parent company of US esports team Team SoloMid (TSM), it raised a lot of eyebrows. It was a little different to our usual investments, plus esports was still seen as a niche interest and its participating teams not considered comparable to traditional sports franchises. But that perception has changed – today esports is a key growth area in the interactive media space. This trend can also be seen in another of our esports investments, Skillz, which in December became the first publicly-traded mobile esports platform. Skillz is poised to capitalise on the massive growth in mobile gaming, which it expects to more than double in value by 2025 to be worth $150 billion. It is planning new monetisation models and international expansion opportunities that will allow it to dramatically expand its addressable market. Skillz is democratizing esports for everyone. Traditional esports has always been associated with PC and console gamers and more hardcore, first-person shooter and Battle Royale games. But it turns out that mobile esports is a massive opportunity, magnitudes larger than PC and Console gaming and...
While in popular perception the esports market is centered around the twin loci of North America and Asia, Europe is fast becoming an esports hotspot. It accounts for almost one-third of all global esports revenues and is host to more than 70 million esports viewers. However, it remains far less homogenous and represents a far more diverse mix of countries and cultures than America and China
Europe’s rich and diverse games heritage traces back to the earliest days of games development, including some of the biggest titles in the business, ranging from Minecraft (Mojang, Sweden), through Grand Theft Auto (Rockstar North, Scotland), and on to the ubiquitous Candy Crush Saga (King, Sweden). It is unsurprising to see European developers amongst the first organisations that made esports popular, especially in the West. Amongst them are major players such as Germany’s ESL, which is now arguably the world’s largest esports organization.
The COVID-19 pandemic has relegated live sports from the top of the podium as the most watched and lucrative part of TV schedules. At the same time, the enforced social distancing, school closures and home working has prompted audiences across all age groups to spend more time on video on demand, social media and, in a big way, gaming. As a result, new types of competitive electronic sports are gaining participants and, more importantly for TV, viewership. From drone racing to battle robots, the rise of alternative sports is blossoming. By far the most popular is video gaming esports, with 450+ million viewers globally – and figures show its following growing rapidly as it has emerged as the main live alternative to physical sports during the coronavirus crisis.
Esports is the live content phenomenon reaching hundreds of millions of viewers globally and its success means more and more broadcasters want to integrate it into their programming.
But the scale and complexity creates huge technical and production challenges, demanding flexible and scalable systems.
Leading eSports business ESL and technology supplier Make.tv discuss how using the cloud is transforming live esports production and distribution – reaching more audiences with engaging and immersive viewing experiences, and creating new revenues.
What are the lessons for traditional broadcasters struggling with audience fragmentation and increased competition from VOD? And what are the implications for workflows and technology providers?
There are few current trends in media and entertainment as exciting and fast-growing as Esports (an umbrella term encompassing competitive gaming across a number of distinct games). Growing out of the humble origins of arcade tournaments, and online game play-throughs, Esports have experienced a meteoric rise recently, though tournaments have been broadcast by channels such as GIGA since the early 2000s. Still, the growth that media organizations have witnessed in the last half-decade has been immensely impressive. In 2018, Newzoo predicted that by 2021 Esports will become a bigger industry than traditional professional athletics, and the industry will see its first $100-million-dollar media rights deal (an incredibly ambitious forecast). In a follow-up piece published in early 2019, they predict an audience of 645 million viewers by 2022.