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.
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.
Esports, or Electronic Sports, is fast becoming a household name as the new star of the sports broadcasting and entertainment industry. Simply put, the term ‘eSports’ covers competitive gaming on a professional scale - with the Fortnite World Cup and the League of Legends World Championship series becoming some of the most anticipated events set to take place in 2020. In July of 2019, the Fortnite World Cup took place in a sold-out Arthur Ashe stadium with well over 2 million people watching live gameplay across the world. With news of the solo tournament winner Kyle Giersdorf taking home a cool $3M, eSports was catapulted even further into the mainstream - and became impossible to ignore.
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.
IO Interactive is an independent video game developer based in Copenhagen, Denmark and the creative force behind some of the most talked-about multi-platform video games to emerge in the last decade. Starting with the groundbreaking and award-winning Hitman series, IO Interactive has since developed the cult classic “Freedom Fighters”, the controversial “Kane & Lynch” series and the adorable “Mini Ninjas”. Dedication to creating original IP and unforgettable characters and experiences are the hallmarks of IO Interactive.
Tom Lithgow (Product Manager) discusses the new features to Bluefish444's IngeSTore as well as their Video Input and Output support for Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3D.