All About Esports: What’s New in the Industry, at CSU Global, and Beyond

By CSU Global - January 18th, 2021

Collegiate esports teams

Esports—the practice of competitive video gaming—can trace its roots all the way back to 1972, when students at Stanford University competed on the video game Spacewar to earn a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Since then, esports has exploded into a nearly $1 billion industry, including salaried athletes, corporate sponsorships, and global, televised competitions that garner millions of viewers. Here’s what’s happening in the industry today.

The State of Esports

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to confine people to their homes, and cancel or significantly shorten many professional sports seasons, esports saw a stratospheric rise in popularity. Whether on a professional level or simply just for home entertainment, competitive gaming is the perfect social activity in a world where in-person interaction is limited.

Along with its popularity, the esport industry’s economic impact has grown substantially in recent years, reporting $906 million in revenue in 2018 according to Tech Startup

Esports Demographics

  • 73% of regular esports viewers are under 35 years old.
  • Esports is especially popular in Southeast Asia, with the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam topping the list of countries with the highest engagement.
  • 40% of esports viewers do not play the games they’re watching themselves, indicating its popularity as a spectator sport.

Esports Growth

  • Audience growth has more than quadrupled since 2012.
  • Revenue is up from $130 million in 2012 to a forecasted $1.35 billion in 2021.

The king of esports streaming is Twitch, a streaming platform purchased by Amazon for $970 million in 2014. Twitch accounts for 1.8% of global traffic, behind only Netflix, Apple, and Google, and 43% of streaming video traffic, more than any other platform. Twitch boasts 55 million users who spend more than 100 minutes a day on the site.

Esports and CSU Global

Just as universities have adapted to other cultural trends throughout the years, they’ve been quick to adopt esports as well. In 2016, only seven higher education institutions offered an esports program. Today those programs number in the hundreds. Students can participate in competitions representing their universities and even earn scholarships, just as they would from playing traditional sports.

For CSU Global, esports is a perfect way to foster camaraderie outside the online classroom. Esports can be a great opportunity for socialization, honing problem-solving skills, and complex learning like navigating intricate puzzles and remembering elaborate maps.

In November 2020, CSU Global hosted a webinar with Evil Geniuses, one of the most prolific esports organizations in the world. The EG team discussed the state of the esports industry, how esports games have become mainstream, and where it will go from here.

Get Started with CSU Global

If you’re interested in joining the CSU Global esports community, sign up here! We offer solo and squad gaming, professional coaching, seminars, and events to teach you more about the world of esports. We’ll see you out there!

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