Why Watch E-Sports? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Why Watch E-Sports? The Answer Might Surprise You

The e-sports phenomenon has been growing by leaps and bounds, and though we haven't heard too much about it lately, it's still carrying on, offering up a new and unique experience in gaming. But why do people turn to e-sports? That's a question Eventbrite wanted an answer to, and as such, it went out to get said answer with a survey. What it discovered, meanwhile, might prove a bigger surprise than expected.

The biggest reason that e-sports fans turned to e-sports, according to the Eventbrite study, was on the strength of the community. The fellowship with like-minded gamers, the atmosphere of the events, and similar matters ranked highest in terms of reasons to watch e-sports, as fully 81 percent noted the community was a big reason to watch e-sports. 61 percent, meanwhile, cited the events as a way to connect, real-time, with people normally only seen in an online capacity. 66 percent, meanwhile, noted that an e-sports event was a new way to experience video gaming, and that novelty was attractive.

Indeed, the idea of travel for the sake of the real-world experience doesn't faze many e-sports fans; the Eventbrite study revealed that 38 percent are prepared to travel to another country just to watch an e-sports event live. Yet despite the clear favor e-sports fans had for the sport, there were some points gamers wanted to see to make the experience even better. 43 percent wanted ticketed access to meet-and-greet sessions with pro teams, and 31 percent were looking for musical artist performances to get involved. 22 percent wanted costume play (cosplay) sessions as well as competitions in same, and gamers were also hoping for more participation, with games everyone can play, LAN areas for play while watching the tournaments, and an interesting notion: something to do between matches without requiring the viewer to lose a seat.

For those who believe this isn't a course worth pursuing, there's one more point that should drive home the potential value of such events: 41 percent of respondents were willing to pay up to $49—or the same in Euros—for a ticket. 18 percent would pay up to $99 for a ticket, and 19 would go as far as $200. That's a lot of potential value, but only if the gamers want to show up for an e-sports event, so paying attention to these developments could ultimately result in a lot of income coming in.

It's a fairly common lament; while many gamers are happy gaming from home, enjoying the power of home systems on home theaters, there are still plenty of gamers who remember—not to mention lament the loss of—the arcade experience, in which gamers got together in central facilities to enjoy each others' company and do that which was most familiar and fun for them. E-sports may well represent the perfect opportunity to get back into that old-style fun. Just look at the resurgence of the barcade, that combination bar and arcade, that's starting to show up in so many places. Having that combination of classic arcade games coupled with that classic arcade experience is a big draw for a lot of users, and it's not surprising to see e-sports advancing by offering a similar experience. The idea of real-world contact with people is an important, and still necessary one, one that not even the traditional homebody gamer can easily pass up when offered. This is an opportunity for someone, and a great way to drive what may be the next generation of gaming.

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