Have you been debating the jump into the esports marketing world? CHARGE is here to help you understand the many games, cultures and competitions that comprise this fascinating (and fast-growing) industry. Read on to get the training you need to enter the arena of esports marketing.
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Esports is a young industry, giving brands tons of opportunities to carve out a unique position.
Esports fans are a tech-savvy demographic: young cord-cutters with lots of disposable income and high brand loyalty.
Esports’ skyrocketing popularity means that an investment today can turn serious dividends by next month, much less next year.
Those strengths, however, are balanced by risk.
Esports is a young industry, making it hard to navigate.
Esports fans are a tech-savvy demographic: keyed in to the “tricks” brands use to sway them.
Esports’ skyrocketing popularity is unstable, and a new Fortnite could be right around the corner.
These complications make esports marketing look like a high-risk, high-reward proposition.
But it doesn’t have to be. CHARGE is here to help you understand and navigate this young industry. Which games are the safest bets? Should you focus on live events or streaming? What is casting, even?
Keep reading for Part 1: The Landscape, or use the links below to jump to one of the ebook's sections.
Start by understanding the world of esports, from the ways games differentiate themselves to the fans who excitedly search for new content.
Streamers are the homemade stars of the esports world, with empires they build daily. Understand the economics of streaming and how important these brands can be.
Esports competitions are major events, drawing millions in person and online. Learn the formats, the teams to watch, and how sponsors can find a place in these marquee events.
To begin to understand esports, the traditional sports industry is a great place to start. The sports industry covers a wide range of games, fans, cultures and sub-cultures. Fans of hockey are not often fans of tennis, and the two groups view themselves as wholly different. Their games are a way to reflect their personality. Hockey fans take pride in being rough-and-tumble, where tennis fans’ self-image is more refined.
In the same way, esports is a broad world, broken into genres, games and sub-cultures all their own. Though they may look the same to “noobs”, players of battle royale game Fortnite and first-person shooter game Call of Duty view themselves very differently. Just like the sports world, the esports word is full of many different sub-cultures and groups.
The sports industry can also be a useful analog for how the esports economy will likely grow in the future.
Esports as an industry is expanding - dramatically. According to NewZoo, the esports economy will have reached $905.8 million by the end of 2018. That’s a 38% year-over-year growth compared to 2017’s $655 million.
Those gains are impressive, but all signs point to the fact that esports will enjoy even more growth. The worldwide sports economy stood at $90.9 billion in 2017, according to Statista. If traditional sports are any indication, esports have a strong few years, or even decades, of growth yet.
In order for you, a marketer, to get in on the esports industry’s explosive growth, you have to understand its basic building blocks. Games and gamers. Fans and sponsorships.
Ready to learn your 2K from your Overwatch?
Any video game is not necessarily an esports game. Esport games must have three characteristics:
Multiplayer- More than one player is necessary to make the game function.
Competitive- Though there are often teams in esports, there must also be a winner and a loser.
For Spectators-Most esports games are played streaming, though competitions have become increasingly popular and have sold out large arenas.
One of the most common traps marketers fall into is viewing esports as one, uniform group. Esports, again, is the digital version of the entire sports industry. And just like the sports industry, each genre and even game contains its own subculture.
The most obvious dividing line in gaming is fantasy vs. realistic. While realistic games are rooted in real-world characters and scenarios, fantasy games set out to build new worlds. In many other forms of media, this would be a huge dividing line. In movies and books, fantasy is a genre to itself, with rules and scenarios specific to that genre.
In esports, however, the divide between fantasy and realistic games is far less differentiating. In games, fantasy is largely just a style choice; it doesn’t have nearly as heavy an influence on how you’ll play. When looking for games they’ll enjoy, gamers look primarily to genre.
In esports, genre defines how the game will be played. Are you creating a strategy beforehand, or do you have to make it up as you go along? Are you in a team setting, or will you be competing solo? Genre will dictate your answer to these questions – and whether this is “your type of game” or not. This is borne out by data. Esports gamers tend to play only 2-3 genres of games. Just like their counterparts in the traditional sports industry, esports gamers find the style that attracts their own sensibilities.
Because of this genre preference, it is important to understand the most popular genres and games. Just like players, your brand should have some that fit better than others. A good brand is specific, and, as with any other marketing efforts, finding the matching audience is key.
A genre of game in which many players are all in competition with each other. Players attempt to eliminate as many other players as possible, until one victor emerges.
A genre of game based on collecting cards that give the user moves, powers, or other advantages, and playing them strategically. (Also called Collectible Card Games, or CCGs.)
A genre of games based on one-on-one (typically hand-to-hand) combat. Though typically this involved martial arts, fighting games have expanded into armed combat.
A genre of game that places the player “in the eyes” of the character, which offers a more personal experience. They often revolves around finding different weapons.
A genre of games based in real-time strategy. The player is on a team competing against another team, with the goal, typically, to destroy the other team’s structure or base.
A genre of games based on using resources and units to defend yourself and/or defeat the other teams. As these games are played in real-time, players must be able to adapt and make decisions on the fly.
A genre of games in which a player assumes a character and interacts in the game world with that character's assets. These games are typically cooperative, and players must work together to complete tasks or quests