Why Asia is the future of esports
Not too long ago, so-called ‘experts’ were convinced that esports didn’t have a future – much like when commercial video games first debuted, people were rather convinced that esports were just a fad, a passing trend and that in a few months nobody would care any more.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that this was as far from reality as can be, with esports being a billion dollar industry already, and showing no sign of slowing down. Now, once again ‘experts’ have started wondering whether esports has peaked, whether it’s hit a plateau with nowhere to go but down – the simple answer is: NO, of course not!
Esports has been experiencing a steady rise in both investments, resource providers and consumers, all of which are needed to maintain a positive momentum. One thing is definitely true though – although this momentum is world-wide, it isn’t the same everywhere. In other words, while both the US and China see a rise in esports fans, players and investors, this increase is far bigger in China.
Generally speaking, Asia is well on its way to leading the charge here. It’s no secret that Japan is part of the reason esports and video games became popular in the first place, nor that a very large amount of very skilled esports pros hail from South Korea. It’s also pretty well-known that China has had a hand in the technology and gaming world for a while, and even India is slowly zeroing in on the esports world, what with them having recently launched their own national team.
Asia has the potential to well overtake the West when it comes to esports, though they don’t have the upper hand in ALL aspects – when it comes to consumers, the average Western one has far more disposable income to spend on games than in the East. Because of this, companies target the West at the moment, but that may not always be the case any more: The sheer volume of potential consumers could make up for the lower disposable income figure. The problem there at the moment is generating interest.
While in South Korea esports and gaming are considered one of if not the most popular hobby in the country, other countries have far less of an interest, and even maintain cultural stigma against gaming, considering it a waste of time.
If technology and gaming companies manage to overcome this bias and open the huge untapped potential that is potential esports fans, Asia could take the top spot in esports revenue-wise in just a few short years – China in particular is already second after the US, world-wide, and that’s just one country.
Much like it happened in the West, interest is rising steadily, but not as quickly as it could. The fact that many esports at the moment are explicitly targeted at the West is a hindrance. Companies like the Chinese Tencent are working to change that by creating ‘Eastern’ esports games, aimed at local audiences.