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Esports, as with all industries, faced a lot of instability last year, but this years emerging trends could create some clarity. According to recent research there are a number of areas that we need to keep an eye on including:

  • Mobile esports
  • Diversification
  • League-focused layouts
  • Non-gaming content

The market research agency, Newzoo, discovered these trends by examining past trends and behaviours of gamers in previous seasons. It is important to remember that the shift back to digital competition last year has disrupted the dynamics of the market. However, Newzoo concluded that several of the previous forecasts will be brought into 2021.

The rise of mobile esports

Due to technology evolving at a rapid pace, trends in this sector are continuously changing. Mobile esports have entered the ring and are expected to stand in the elite tier of gaming competitions. Mobile esports have already started to make waves. Games like PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire have gained a higher peak of esports viewers than PC titles like CS:GO and Dota last year. However, mobile gaming still has a way to climb as these PC titles have a larger total hours watched by their viewers.

The need for diversification

Diversification is key to the participation of a larger audience within this industry. Game developers will need to continue expanding beyond conventional sport models, heading towards lifestyle brand positioning and content creator strategies. Embracing esports and relating to mainstream culture acts as a way for companies to have another revenue stream. Recruiting content creators would also be helpful. It gives companies new tools to sell to advertisers and offers more flexibility when discussing possible channels. As esports expands, conventional forms of sport will inevitably be overlooked. With sports clubs and businesses having used 2020 to concentrate their attention on esports. We should anticipate more creativity from these sporting firms in the future to stay current in the minds of their fans.

The return of league-based games

Our current inability to travel to international competitions means that online competition will continue this year, which has boosted the attendance of league-based and regional matches. Another current focus this year would be the readjustment of the ecosystem that has previously been centred on international competitions. These international competitions may officially switch to regional league-based setups after earning glowing reviews from their viewers.

Increasing popularity for non-gaming content

Non-gaming content will become even more popular on streaming services. This is due to younger viewers who continue to withdraw from conventional TV and favour interactive entertainment sites like Twitch. Many traditional players in this industry have been slow to move to these beloved digital formats. This reluctance to convert to those channels causes younger audiences to seek alternative content.

Twitch and Youtube are pillars in terms of non-gaming video channels. With several brands searching for new and innovative ways to engage with millennial viewers after having to postpone events. The ‘Just Chatting’ feature of Twitch has been extremely popular with its audience. It allows users to remain up to date with lockdown measures, political events as well as live shows that are being hosted via the platform. Facebook Gaming is set to compete with services like Twitch and Youtube. Facebook has initiated this rivalry by launching a streaming category called ‘Hanging Out’. This feature is remarkably close to Twitch’s ‘Just Talking’ feature, which is currently the most streamed category on Twitch.

This could all mean the evolution of sharing sites based on games is to support a wider variety of live content. We should anticipate non-gaming and mobile sporting content to become increasingly popular in the near future and contributing to more businesses increasing this type of content through 2021. These trends will continue to rise in popularity as the year progresses, so get your controllers ready and enjoy!


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