Panelists: Esports Industry Attracting Greater Visibility

- September 24th, 2019

At the Extraordinary Future Conference, panelists offered a glimpse at avenues of opportunity within the esports industry.

During the Extraordinary Future Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, a panel of executives discussed the multilayered nature of the esports and competitive gaming sector.

Titled “Esports Gauntlet,” the panel featured speakers including Julia Becker, head of investor relations and marketing at Enthusiast Gaming (TSXV:EGLX); Anthony Brown, CEO of AMPD Game Technologies; and Chris Parry, founder of Equity Guru.

Over the course of the panel, the speakers discussed competitive gaming platforms, how esports content is being consumed and the multiple pillars within the industry.

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“The overall gaming sector — and esports is included in that — is about a US$150 billion industry right now,” said Becker. “In 2022 … it is going to be a US$200 billion dollar industry.”

As the esports industry continues to grow, companies such as Vancouver-based Pepper Esports are designing platforms that enable gamers to compete in casual tournaments in Apex Legends, PUBG and Fortnite. Additionally, Askott Entertainment — also based in Vancouver — has built platforms that enable individuals to bet on various esports events.

“Esports — although it’s hot right now — is only one part within the entire ecosystem (and) makes up just over US$1 billion in terms of revenue,” added Becker.

Attention has focused more closely on esports teams in the publicly traded space. Just this month, Enthusiast Gaming was speculated to have paid US$25 million for a Call of Duty team based in Seattle.

“We’re seeing prize pools and huge visibility coming out of esports. I believe 400 million people currently watch esports and competitive games,” Becker said.

In July, over US$3 million was won by a 16 year old in a Fortnite championship match, added Becker.

As the esports industry evolves, the importance of data will become increasingly vital, as evidenced in a presentation that followed the panel with Guy Halford-Thompson, CEO of Pepper Esports.

Through harnessing the data from Pepper’s esports platform players’ scores are visible through Pepper’s real-time score infrastructure within 10 seconds. Pepper Esports offers a platform for casual competitive gaming, aimed at amateur players.

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“We process over 25,000 games to our platform,” said Halford-Thompson. He added that the company plans to go public in early 2020.

Towards the end of the “Esports Gauntlet” panel, the discussion circled around all of the different avenues that esports operates within, beyond the championship events.

“We have the actual esports tournaments that actually happen in stadiums; we saw the Dota 2 world championships come to Vancouver,” Brown said. “Rogers Arena (filled up) for two days with thousands of people who came to watch the tournament in person. That’s not a small feat.”

Editor’s note: The Dota 2 tournament main event took place over six days at Rogers Arena.

With competitive gaming gaining greater momentum over the past 10 years, more immersive and local alternatives have emerged.

“We had our first esports stadium set up in Richmond, (British Columbia,) at the Gaming Stadium, and they have seen tons of people (there) on a regular basis,” added Brown. “Then we have all those people who are watching these things at home, mostly through Twitch — and then we have players who are playing at home.”

Along with the Gaming Stadium, Simplicity Esports announced in late September that it will build as many as 85 esports stadiums by the end of 2020.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Dorothy Neufeld, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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