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INNOVATION| 08.07.2022

The growing trend of Esports: why everyone is talking about them

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Although for many this concept is still something new, the reality is that eSports have been around for a long time. At present, thanks to the expansion of the Internet and new technologies, eSports are now at their peak.

We are talking about a billion-dollar industry with international leagues that attract more than 600 million followers and fans around the world. But those of you who are not yet familiar with the concept may be wondering what they are and why everyone is talking about them. Today we will tell you all about this rising trend.

MAPFRE has been committed to eSports for years, specifically since October 2018, with an agreement of intent with the main figures in the eSports ecosystem such as ESL (the world’s largest independent eSports company), Liga de Videojuegos Profesional (part of the MEDIAPRO group and the largest organization of eSports in the Spanish language), and GGTech (the largest organizer of eSports competitions in the educational field). These agreements brought the insurance sector another step closer in the ongoing search for innovation.  In addition, as we will explain below, we recently participated in the creation of an eSports innovation hub. So we continue to be strongly committed to the world of gaming.

What are eSports?

ESports are multiplayer videogame competitions between professionals, although there are also amateur leagues. This does not mean that all videogames can be considered eSports. ESports are only those in which you are allowed to compete against other people with equal conditions in the leagues with rules, and that can be played either individually or in teams.

Today these competitions fill stadiums and take place all over the world and are even trending on social networks. Their expansion has caused the business to grow and more and more companies are interested in this new ecosystem within the gaming world. This sports trend has professionalized videogame competitions, giving another meaning to the gaming market.

What trends are expected in the world of eSports?

As has already been made clear, this sector is trending and will continue to grow at an exponential rate in the coming years, so let’s address some of the trends we can expect in this world.

1. Inclusion of 5G network

This is one of the trends that is coming for both eSports and the gaming world in general. The advent of 5G has spurred new possibilities in this industry and all others. This network has already been implemented in some cities and is expected to be extended to the rest this year.
5G enables increased connection speeds for users, with raw speeds reaching 10 Gbps, almost 10 times faster than 4G. This is a long-awaited trend for gamers, as most of them find it very frustrating to experience lag or lapses in online games. A higher connection speed also means a better user experience: for the public, it means being able to view eSports tournaments and competitions broadcast live in high definition and with interactive dynamics.

2. Games for mobile devices

In recent years, the growing trend has been the arrival of mobile e-sports games. They are so popular that many companies already offer game licenses along with their launch promotions. Games such as Call of Duty: Mobile, PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends dominate the mobile gaming industry and gaming fans will inevitably witness an e-sports version of these mobile games.

3. Virtual Reality Expansion

As much as virtual reality (VR) is not new, it has to be taken into account in the gaming sector, as it is gaining popularity and thanks to its advances in technology it will not be long before it reaches e-sports. What experiences will be available to gamers owing to virtual reality? Virtual reality offers players a more immersive experience and opens up a whole world of possibilities in competitive gaming. Players will be able to hear sounds as if they were real life, view hand and arm movements, feel part of more realistic games and have the opportunity to interact with other players.

4. Penetration of social gaming

Another trend we can expect in esports and gaming this year is what is known as social gaming. This term refers to online videogames accessed mainly through social networks.

This type of strategy will be on the rise, as it is a great opportunity for brands to get closer to their audience in a playful and entertaining environment. This improves information retention and helps brands gain consumer trust and loyalty.

5. More spectators than players

Increasingly, we are seeing people who prefer to be spectators rather than players. This is due to the investment and the growing interest of companies and brands in entering this sector. This could turn the business model on its head, and videogame developers would have to change the way they develop games and start thinking about designs that appeal to large audiences.

6. Better graphics

Improved graphics is another trend in esports and gaming. It is clear that we are going to see more and more real characters with more human-like movements. It is evolving so much in this sense that nowadays players can already put their physical features on their characters, and create avatars. This improvement in graphics will offer a better user experience and encourage more people to enter the gaming world.

7. CloudGaming

Cloud gaming is on the rise. Why? Because as we mentioned earlier, players are looking for speed, and the technology giants are competing with each other to launch new services that promise impressive speeds.

Cloud gaming is a way of running videogames so that they open on a remote server instead of on the player’s device. This allows fans to have to spend less money on upgrades to their devices to stay up to date.

MAPFRE is taking part in the creation of the first innovation hub in esports

As mentioned, MAPFRE is one of the entities that has collaborated with Lanzadera, the business accelerator promoted by Juan Roig, the president of Mercadona. He has launched a sports innovation hub to support and finance entrepreneurs who have projects that promote new solutions or products focused on improving the experience in esports events.

This hub will serve to share knowledge and highlight projects that solve the challenges now facing in-person esports events, such as improving monetization in streaming and physical events, increasing incentives to improve the interaction of attendees and spectators in the competition to enhance their experience and using technologies that increase the value of videogames.

Esports have experienced exponential growth in recent years. Therefore, it is essential to be able to contribute the innovation that entrepreneurs are developing. Moreover, with the support of the hub corporations, we are certain that the selected startups will develop projects that will take esports experiences to the next level,” says Javier Jiménez, CEO of Lanzadera.

The selected start-ups will have the support of professionals from the participating companies and Lanzadera, who will support them in the development and execution of the project. In addition, they will have a funding pool to cover the needs for the validation of the project and they will have a work space, which will allow them to network with other entrepreneurs.

For MAPFRE, which is clearly committed to collaboration with startups, it is very important to be part of this project. We will provide the participating startups with all our experience and knowledge in innovation so that they can achieve their goals in esports competitions,” said Juan Cumbrado, director of innovation at MAPFRE Spain.

The selected start-ups will implement their innovations in the competition to be held between September and December 2022. In addition, there will be a final phase at Dreamhack Valencia, where the finalists from each city will compete for the competition prizes. The registration period is open and one can apply at this link until July 4.

And lastly, we pose the following question: Will esports become an official sport at the Olympic Games? For now we will have to wait a while to see this happen, because some conditions must still be met to be in The Olympic Games, but we are certain that sooner rather than later they will convince the world that they are a full-fledged sport, and just as the brands have seen it as a great opportunity, so will it be for the rest of the world.