Esports in France, now and the future

France is the 7th biggest esports market in the world, and it’s steadily growing – just last year, the country got its own Overwatch League team – Paris Eternal joined the line-up of existing teams along with several more. Funnily enough, a mere few days ago, the game also debuted a new Paris map for players to enjoy.

overwatch-paris-map

© Blizzard Entertainment

With $3.1Bn in game revenue last year, there’s more to the French esports market of course – with over 40% of the population playing mobile games and some 30% playing console and PC games, there’s no doubt that gaming is incredibly popular in the country. League of Legends is the most regularly watched game in France, with roughly 6% of the population watching it at least a few times per month.

There are also plenty of esports events, especially in Paris – one of the biggest events of the years is going to be the Numeric Games event in Paris. This July, for two days, the event is going to see a total of 24 tournaments in 8 disciplines are going to take place over the course of 2 days.

Among these are Street Fighter tournaments, mobile tournaments, even a drone flying competition is happening. All in all, a pretty fun weekend, and only one of many events to happen there. Another thing that needs mentioning are the Olympics – while the inclusion of esports in the Olympics is still under fire, the Paris games of 2024 have a real chance of seeing at least exhibition matches as far as esports go.

A few Olympic-related events like the Asian games have already taken the plunge much to the excitement and delight of esports fans. The main event though, the Summer Olympics, has not yet committed, thanks to some strong opposition in high places. When it became obvious that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics wouldn’t see esports included, fans immediately focused on the event after that… Paris!

Of course, not everything always goes according to plan – after all, esports joining the Olympics is far from a done deal, and even with smaller esports events in France, issues aren’t unheard of. An example of this would be the E-games Festival that was supposed to take place in Toulouse, France, in 2009… only to be cancelled, and without notice at that. Fans turned up on the day and found the offices deserted, with no trace of the supposed event happening at all.

While this isn’t the norm, it had happened before – after a 2003 event, several players that were supposed to be awarded around $80.000 walked away with absolutely nothing – they were never paid. Of course, when things go well, they can go great – examples of this include but are not limited to the Paris Games week, the Festival du Jeu Video and more. In fact, the Paris Games Week in 2014 was the second largest video game fair in all of Europe, beaten only by Gamescom in Germany in the same year.