Since the turn of the century, esports competitions have been moving in the direction of more professional organization. The most evident facet is that of the players themselves, who have the possibility (for a vastly insignificant number of people) to make a livelihood off their interest and make a living by competing in an ever-increasing number of games. This is undoubtedly the most visible facet. However, this professionalization is not simply restricted to players; rather, it has an effect on all of the abilities required by the different stakeholders that together make up this ecosystem.
If, up until relatively recently, the majority of the responsibility for running esports fell on the shoulders of self-taught, multi-tasking, volunteer enthusiasts, the ongoing expansion of the phenomenon has progressively pushed the many stakeholders to:
- seek new talents (sometimes in other sectors of activity such as sport or media for example)
- boost the amount of human resources they have.
- They should surround themselves with persons who are progressively qualified.
Many young people today have the goal of making the world of esports and competitive video gaming their future working environment, and this is their ambition. On the other hand, it can be challenging to have a clear picture of the possibilities that exist in terms of employment openings, and by extension, in terms of educational routes.
It is for this reason that I am gradually trying to find the different occupations that are associated to esports in order to achieve the following goals in order to fill this gap:
- Educate the youngest about the various options available to them.
- Give reassurance to concerned parents that their children desire to make a living in the gaming or esports industry.
Assist training organizations, schools, and colleges in determining the professions on which they should concentrate their efforts and, as a result, establish the suitable educational content and relevant speakers, teachers, and instructors.
The Environment and Ecosystem of Esports
One of the unintended effects of the fragmentation and dispersion of the various stakeholders in esports is that it makes it more difficult for people who are not familiar with the industry (such as outsiders or brands that are not local to the region) to comprehend its ecosystem: Who exactly are the various stakeholders that comprise it, and how do they communicate with one another?
There are several different schemes, all of which attempt to present the most comprehensive and objective picture possible of this ecosystem. On the other hand, I have never been completely content with them since, regrettably, they are either too simplistic, incomplete, or do not clearly portray the interactions that take place between the many stakeholders. I’ve included several of them below; I made use of them for a while.
Because of this, after utilizing them for a significant amount of time while being unsatisfied with the results, I made an effort to propose an accurate and straightforward description of the esports environment. The overall result can be seen in the table that follows. However, there is a clear limitation, and that is the variety and quantity of different competitive settings. In point of fact, there are practically as many models as there are games, and not everything that holds true for one model will definitely hold true for another.
In general terms, two different models coexist:
The term “league-oriented” refers to a scenario in which a group of players (such as Tim “Nemesis” Lipovek, Gabri’l “Bwipo” Rau, Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov, and Martin “Rekkles” Larsson) represent a franchise (Fnatic) and compete in a video game (League of Legends) (Riot Games). In this scenario, the video game publisher frequently doubles as the organizer of the competitive circuit (in this case, the League European Championship), which is shown on the specialized channel of the streaming platform (Twitch).
League-oriented model (e.g. League of Legends)
A tournament-oriented format is one in which a roster of players (such as Nathan “NBK” Schmitt, Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, Cédric “RpK” Guipouy, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, and Alex “ALEX” McMeekin) represent a team (Team Vitality) and play on a video game (such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) whose intellectual property belongs to (Valve). In this scenario, the game publisher hands over the majority of responsibility for organizing the successive stages of the competitive circuit (ESL One) to a third-party organization (operator) that specializes in the operation of esports competitions (ESL), whose tournament is shown live on a channel that is exclusively dedicated to it on a streaming platform (Twitch).
The model is based on tournaments (e.g. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)
Then, regardless of the model, companies and investors participate in the financing of this ecosystem by sponsoring one of the following options:
- A player (for example, Nike’s collaboration with Jian “Uzi” Zihao),
- A team (e.g. Gillet with Team Solo Mid),
- A contest, which may take the form of a recurring league or an irregular tournament (e.g. Toyota and the Overwatch League),
- An event organiser (e.g. Intel and ESL).
The investors also have the option of forming a partnership with the publisher in order to raise their profile within the game’s virtual realm (e.g. NFL with Epic Games on Fortnite Battle Royal).
Numerous potential for financial investment on the part of brands with the many different parties involved in the ecoystem
Historically, it was initially endemic brands (linked to the world of video games) that invested in esports (such as hardware creators and telecommunications services). However, non-endemic brands (outside of the world of video games) gradually focused on this phenomenon in order to reach an audience that tends to escape them. In other words, endemic brands were the first to invest in esports (such as hardware creators and telecommunications services) (Millenials and Gen Z). These investors come from a wide variety of industries, including the automotive sector, banking, the cosmetics industry, the beverage industry (including revitalizing sodas and soft drinks), the fast food industry, aeronautics, insurance, the garment industry, betting and gambling, and more.
Fans and spectators, in particular, contribute to the economic model of this ecosystem in a number of different ways, including the following:
- They take pleasure in watching their favorite players train while they are streaming and give to them (for example, Jacob “Jake” Lyon, an Overwatch League player for the Houston Outlaws); 2. They are excited about the next Overwatch League season; and 3.
- They support their favorite athletes and teams by purchasing merchandising from such organizations (jerseys, caps, hoodies, mugs, keychains, etc.),
- They engage in the activity on their own and make purchases within the game (e.g. skins and cosmetics from their favorite team),
- They attend the stadiums and purchase tickets for the most important international events (e.g. the Overwatch League Grand Finals),
- They keep up with the action from the comfort of their own homes by purchasing a subscription to the channel on the streaming service that is responsible for airing the event (e.g. the Overwatch League official channel).