The esports industry in Malaysia has seen tremendous growth over the years, both in terms of viewership and revenue. This trend is being mirrored across the world.
It would appear that increasing viewership is the main contributor to revenue growth and not just because those viewers are generating revenue. Seeing the potential of reaching a large and engaged audience, brands are investing in marketing in the esports industry, both directly and indirectly. This has contributed to rapid revenue growth in the industry, only slowed down by the Covid-19 pandemic limiting large scale public Esports events. Not surprisingly, the world of esports does seem to be getting back on track as the world returns to normalcy now in 2022.
Esports has also experienced growth in several other aspects, with many of them interrelated in one way or another. Why should you care? Because by understanding the esports boom, you can understand how to leverage it.
Here at Howei we are now recognising the significant role that livestreaming plays in the esports and gaming worlds. We summarize many of the global key findings in this article and will update it further when they release their 2022 edition.
Howei defines esports as being "professional or semi-professional competitive gaming in an organized format (tournament or league) with a specific goal/prize, such as winning a championship title or prize money." The esports stats we include here relate to professional competitive gaming content only and don't include amateur competitions or livestreaming around non-organized competitive gaming. Howei separates the esports market from the live-streaming market (aka gaming market).
For the purposes of these stats, Howei separates esports enthusiasts from occasional viewers. They define esports enthusiasts as people who watch professional esports content more than once a month and occasional viewers as those who watch professional content less regularly than that. We also collate a selection of interesting or notable recent esports statistics near the bottom of this post.
Thanks to the arrival of Covid-19, the nature of esports has changed, perhaps forever. The lines between esports, livestreaming, and influencer marketing have become blurred. The pandemic led to viewing spikes across all livestreaming platforms. People were required to spend time at home during the lockdown and so turned to livestreaming to wile away their time. While the esports market faced challenges during this time, it also saw considerable growth and expanded into markets where there had previously been little activity. However, the industry suffered from the cancellation of many in-person events, and some international events had to be replaced by regional competitions.
There was already a significant increase in esports viewers since 2016 – both occasional viewers and enthusiasts, i.e., viewers who watch it regularly. Between 2018 and 2019, there was a 12.3% increase year over year. In Howei's 2019 adjusted figures, there were 200.8 million occasional viewers and 197 million esports enthusiasts, making the total audience 397.8 million. The year-over-year growth continued in 2020, with 220.5 million occasional viewers and 215.4 million esports enthusiasts, a combined esports audience of 435.9 million.
Howei expected growth to continue through 2021, with 8.7% year-on-year growth, ending the year with 240.0 million occasional viewers and 234.0 million esports enthusiasts, a total esports audience of 474.0 million.
By 2024, Howei predicts that the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for esports enthusiasts from 2019 to 2024 will be approximately 7.7%. They expect that the number of occasional viewers will grow to 291.6 million. And that there will be 285.7 million esports enthusiasts, making the total audience 577.2 million.
In short, esports is growing across the globe. Mature markets like North America and Western Europe are continuing to grow. However over the last year, audience numbers exploded in the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America regions. In addition, increased use of mobile for streaming has driven demand in markets like Malaysia and Indonesia.
Here are some incredible facts and statistics:
1. Video Games and esports Expected to Grow by 6% Between 2020 and 2025
Global accounting firm PWC released their Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2021–2025, five-year projections of consumer and advertiser spending data across 14 segments and 53 territories. They saw virtual reality as the most significant growth segment, with 30% growth in that timeframe, followed closely by cinema (29%) and data consumption (27%). They lumped video games and esports together and predicted that they would show a combined 6% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the five years.
2. Esports Total US Revenue Predicted to be $516M by 2023
PWC also predicts continued growth in esports revenue, reaching $516M in the US by 2023. This will cover all facets, including consumer ticket sales, sponsorship, streaming advertising, consumer contribution, and media rights.
PWC observes that "sponsorship and media rights revenue in eConsumer tickets sales Sports are the main drivers in the segment and increase at a 14.7% and 26.8% CAGR respectively to 2023."
It should be noted that PWC's analysis was made before Covid, which has altered things somewhat (particularly for in-person events, significantly affecting ticket sales). Still, things are moving back towards their pre-Covid track now.
3. $1.182M Esports Prize Money
According to esports Earnings, a total of $1,182,221,050.12 has now been paid out as prize money in esports tournaments. The last pre-Covid year, 2019, still holds the record for the most prize money, $241,354,528.60. The onset of Covid saw a significant drop in prize money competed for in 2020 - $127,877,249.11, although things rebounded nicely in 2021, $213,288,016.97.
4. $40M Largest Team Tournament Prize Pool
The International 2021 in Bucharest, Romania, holds the record for the highest prize pool (also the highest team prize pool), worth $US40,018,400. Eighteen teams competed between October 7 and 17, 2021, playing Dota 2. The winning team, Team Spirit, earned $18,208,300.
5. $15.2M Largest Individual Tournament Prize Pool
esports isn't just for teams, however. You will also find tournaments where you can play solo. The best paying was the Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019, which had a solo prize pool of $US15,287,500, with $3 million going to the top player (Kyle Giersdorf - Bugha).
6. $280M Prizes Awarded to Players of Dota 2
If you're an eGamer, the most lucrative game for you to play is Dota 2. 4279 players have won $280,888,533.77 by playing the game in 1622 tournaments.
Notably, Dota 2 players have won more than double the prizes of the next most popular game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ($132,784,312.05). And this is despite there being considerably more CS:GO players (14,852) and tournaments (6,159). This is probably a reflection of changing tastes in esports, with players favoring Dota 2 more recently.
7. Mew2King has 615 Tournament Results
Jason Kimmerman (aka Mew2King) holds the record for most tournament results. He’s made $284,169.31 from 615 tournaments. Perhaps surprisingly, his most frequent tournament game is Super Smash Bros. Melee, which he has competed in 355 times, 57.72% of his tournament results.
8. 20–24-Year-Olds Perform Best in eSport Tournaments
esports Earnings has calculated total earnings by age (for those gamers who have listed their ages when entering tournaments). Intriguingly, the best players were generally in their early-mid 20s. The top five ages are:
24 Years Old $58,880,734.35 - 1795 Players
23 Years Old $57,342,145.26 - 2186 Players
21 Years Old $57,319,670.70 - 2784 Players
22 Years Old $55,273,909.92 - 2516 Players
20 Years Old $49,799,985.20 - 2886 Players
The fact that France's Anatoly Vaisser won $35.19 playing a playchess.com chess tournament at age 73 gives hope to all other esports players and gamers that they can continue to find success as they age.
9. DWG Kia was the Most Watched esports Team in 2021
esports Charts has calculated the top esports teams of 2021 in terms of hours watched. The top position goes to DWG Kia playing League of Legends, who had people watching them for a staggering 96.31 million hours. Other teams with more than 60 million hours of watch-time include NaVi (87.45 million hours), T1 (74.14 million hours), and RRQ Hoshi (76.70 million hours).
10. 174.82M Hours watching the 2021 World Championship [Worlds 2021]
League of Legends Worlds 2021 was the most-watched esports event of 2021, indeed the most-watched of all time. People spent more than 174.8 million hours watching the tournament. Second place in 2021 went to The International 10, with viewers watching 107.2 million hours.
At peak, 4,018,728 people watched the Grand Finals of Worlds 2021 between EDG and DWGK on 6th November 2021 at 17:00, and there were 1,298,219 viewers on average over its 135 hours.
It helped that the world championship was broadcast live on Afreeca TV, Facebook Live, Mildom, Nimo TV, OPENREC.tv, Trovo, Twitch, ВКонтакте Live, and YouTube Live.
So what are you waiting for?
Isn’t it about time you partner with influencers in the industry and have them promote your brand or review your products? Or get to organising your very own esports tournaments and championships!
There are tons of opportunities you can seize to ride the wave of esports' popularity. Contact us at Howei today if you’re keen to start your esports journey.