During coronavirus pandemic, every major e-sports portal reported a surge of 80-100% of users
By Yash Pariani
Since the pandemic outbreak globally, every online trend has accelerated exponentially. Nowadays, more number of people are shopping online from the comfort of their homes, subscriptions to OTT platforms have spiked, and so has the demand for e-sports on consoles, mobiles and computers. The audience that loves to play e-sports has grown considerably thanks to the wide array of games available online and ample free time. An increasing number of people are participating in online games for good reason. E-sport tournaments are the place to be for young gamers who want to spend their time wisely playing games they love and earning money at the same time.
During this time, every major e-sports portal has reported a surge of 80-100% of users over the past few weeks. While the number of people registering on e-sports portals were always on the up and up, the pandemic has added impetus to this rising trend. The e-sports companies have seen the maximum growth in the last 3 months, especially in March 2020. Towards the last 10 days, gamers were scurrying to sign up at their favourite tournament sites to keep themselves busy. The companies saw more users in March 2020 compared to January or February 2020. The same trend has continued in April and May 2020, with May being their best month in terms of daily sign-ups.
What’s driving people to e-sports?
Millennials, Generation Y and Z love gaming. Among friends, the topic of discussion is just as likely to be sports as e-sports. The chance to play their favourite games against opponents who are as passionate about gaming is a huge plus.
Behind this passion for gaming is the incredibly immersive universe of games. Games like Assassins Creed put players in the shoes of trained assassins in a hyper-realistic world of the middle ages. Young gamers play with and against each other by killing opponents in a vibrant digital environment. The slickly created gaming engine on which Assassins Creed runs lets the players interact virtually with everything they see. They can pick things, throw them, ride them and traverse an open world of unparalleled richness.
One thing an e-sports organisation needs to ensure is user retention. Due to a wide array of options for online gaming, customer retention is one of the most uphill tasks an organisation has to deal with. But like any other brand, user satisfaction is of utmost importance. A player who has had a good experience on your website ought to come and play again. As an organiser, it’s essential to solve the player disputes at the earliest, and have unbiased moderators.
Gaming stats since COVID-19
A leading gaming portal has revealed that since the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, its user base has surged by 200%. Today nearly 5 lakh players visit the portal every day and spend on average 30 to 45 minutes playing.
Prior to COVID-19, there were seen much participants during lunch or the afternoon. However, all our afternoon tournaments have reached their maximum occupancy with the registrations for the evening games closing on the same day as it is scheduled due to high demand on the e-sports platforms. It’s not only the demand of the participants that has increased but also the number of viewers for live streaming of the tournaments. The YouTube channels of these e-sport companies have witnessed over 1000% viewership in the past 90 days.
Every e-sports portal reports similar numbers. Confined to their homes, people of all ages, have begun a mass exodus to e-sports portals. However, the picture was not similar before the lockdown and COVID crisis. Prior to this, there was a limitation on the number of hours that the user uses to spend on e-sports gaming. It was observed between 2-4 hr in a day, which majorly rose to 10-12 hrs after the lockdown. Also, there was an objection towards gaming by the parents of the gamers. They were ceasing their children from participating in live tournaments. However, presently a huge spike has been observed in the participation of gamers in the live tournaments from all over the world. Along with this, it has led to a rise in the viewership of these live tournaments on the YouTube channels of various e-sports Giants.
An average player spends around 4-5 hours on a game every day, which has now almost doubled to 8-9 hours a day. Video Games have now become a way of social interaction for teenagers. A good amount of working-class is also tuned to games like ludo king or Chess. Indeed, the gaming world is an escape for gamers from Covid-19 and quarantine.
The author is founder and CEO, Indian Gaming League (IGL)