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  1. An interesting report by leading market research and consulting firm Cognitive Market Research has reviewed the recent growth in the esports sector, along with device usage stats, regional engagement, the development of cloud gaming services and even mainstream brand engagement with the gaming sector to extrapolate its potential over the next seven years. Join us as we delve into this in-depth report to highlight some of the critical factors that could see competitive gaming and the esports betting sector triple in size in less than a decade! What is the Current Esports Benchmark? According to the study, the global esports sector is worth approximately $1.4 billion, which means that in order to reach the projected $4.47 billion valuation, it needs to grow by 17.8% year on year from 2023 to 2030. The company presented the following 2022 baseline stats: 71.3 % - Live Streaming Type Segment Share 69.4 % - Platform Segment Share 41.2 % - Smartphone Device Type Segment Share 37.5 % - Sponsorship Revenue Stream Segment Share 31.9 % - Asia Pacific eSports Market Share The significant finding of the market as it currently stands was reported as follows: Interest in esports was bolstered by the adoption of smart devices, increased internet penetration, and the period of time people spent at home during the global lockdown. From a fan-base perspective, gaming and esports-related live streams boosted the overall interest and participation in the sector. The mobile gaming segment dominates the competitive esports landscape. Direct brand sponsorships are the primary revenue source for esports organisations. The Asia Pacific market is the most substantial esports region at 31,94% of the overall competitive market. According to a global report by Market Growth Reports, the esports betting sector is expected to grow by an estimated 10.6% annually. With both segments forecast to show incredible growth over the next seven years, they are set to become marketing leaders in their respective fields. An Overview of 2030 Revenue Projections While it is impressive to imagine the esports sector reaching a $4.47 billion valuation by 2030, there are several adjacent sectors that will be growing alongside it. The report provided several insightful projections by delving into these other markets: Global online gambling market to reach $205.23 billion by 2030. Global sports betting market to reach $180.14 billion by 2030. Global esports software market to hit $4.57 billion by 2030. Global daily fantasy games market is projected to reach $16.21 billion by 2030. Overall, the annual revenue figures for these various market segments all show a year-on-year increase that ranges from 9.2% up to 19.7%. Who Are the Biggest Regional Contributors? Interestingly it is not North America which rules the roost in terms of driving the advancements of esports. The Market Growth Reports study highlighted the importance of the Asia Pacific region, which currently accounts for nearly 32% of the global participants and audience for esports events. The top three esports markets are: Asia Pacific (APAC) North America Europe It was interesting to note that these are also three regions with some of the world's highest internet penetration and mobile device usage. Online gambling is also gaining ground, specifically in North America and Europe, which will see these teams pick up increased investment and gain a wider audience as fans are able to stake their preferred teams and share in the highs and lows of wins and losses during esports competitions. Prominent Video Game developers in the Esports Sector Much like with online casinos, the esports sector's success requires investment and game developers' support. While we are yet to see casino game developers launch esports titles, here are the biggest names in gaming who provide competitive titles: Nintendo Activision Blizzard, Inc. NVIDIA Corporation Electronic Arts Intel Corporation Tencent Holding Limited Valve Corporation The Savvy Gaming Group get an honourable mention in this section as a future big player. The company agreed to purchase the ESL Gaming division of the Modern Times Group for a staggering $1.05 billion. Leading Esports Betting Software and Platform Providers MarketWatch reviewed some of the biggest iGaming names in esports growth and development. Here are five of the most recognisable developers on this list: 888 Holdings Betway Bet365 Kindred Group Entain PLC These gambling software and betting platform providers are also often at the forefront of promoting licensing and regulation, which is excellent for the legitimacy and widespread adoption of esports-related gambling. These companies are also market leaders in online casinos and live dealers. Please visit our online casino and casino software pages, where we cover the available gambling sites, bonuses and casino games.
  2. The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and leading independent online gambling market data and intelligence firm H2 Gambling Capital joined forces to do an in-depth analysis of the sport betting industry. David Henwood, Director of H2, said: “Our assessment of the various regulatory models in operation around the world has determined the key factors that are most likely to generate a successful well-regulated betting market: unlimited licensing, competitive GGR tax, wide product offering, integrity provisions and balanced advertising parameters. That position and our betting product and integrity evaluation is based on the most extensive and detailed collection of market data that has ever been assembled. The report’s findings are therefore unique and illuminating.” The intent of the study was to use live data from existing sports betting markets to codify the earmarks of the ideal online betting market in the current market. To pull this all together the resultant report offered the following six data sets: A ranking of the current active betting jurisdictions Ten regulatory pillars for a strong betting market An evidence-based discussion of the availability of betting products A report on potential high-risk markets Key data points from evaluating €115 billion in bets placed A data-led evaluation of match-fixing and its financial implication Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, said: “The study and its contents can rightly be justified as unprecedented. H2 has conducted a detailed examination of product data covering €115bn in turnover, along with its own market data. The result is a report that provides a never seen before insight into global consumer demand, integrity risks and regulatory practices. In doing so, it reveals the core facets of a successful regulatory framework for betting.” The quality of the resultant study has subsequently garnered the praise and the support of the top global gambling jurisdictions including the UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS), the Brussels-based European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), the Spanish Online Gambling Trade Association (Jdigital) and the Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA). Keeping It Short and Simple If you are someone who enjoys delving into rich data sets loaded with graphs, scales, and various commentaries then we highly recommend downloading the full 74-page report from the IBIA website. They have not locked it behind a paywall and it is freely available for any interested parties. However, for the sake of brevity we will be focusing on three key areas: which markets scored best and why they did so, the foundation of a strong betting market, and what H2 discovered by reviewing more than €1.3 billion worth of bets. 1. Which Jurisdiction Offers the Best Betting Model? The aim of the study is to not only review the current state of the online betting market but to also provide a model for regulatory bodies to use as a guideline. However, to achieve this H2 had to first determine which key metrics would be used to critique online betting as we have it today. To this end the company decided to utilise the following five data points: Regulation (scored out of /30) Taxation (scored out of /20) Product (scored out of /20) Integrity (scored out of /15) Advertising (scored out of /15) Each data points weight is represented by its overall contribution to the score of 100. As you can see ‘Regulation’ was weighed out of 30 while ‘Advertising’ was weighted as ‘15’. This shows the overarching importance of strong regulation and the need to score well in this area to be considered a valued betting market. ✓The Top 5 Betting Markets H2 used these scoring criteria to evaluate the 19 countries where online betting is offered. In total 18 of the 19 countries, they appraised all scored higher than 47 points out of a possible 100 points. Only 6 markets managed to attain the “attractive market” score of 80+ points: Great Britain – 91 points Malta – 88 points Denmark – 86 points USA (Nevada) – 85 points Sweden – 83 points USA (New Jersey) – 82 points The reason for Nevada and New Jersey having slightly different scores comes down to state-level decisions around taxation (19 pts vs 17 pts), the choice of betting providers (18 pts vs 16 pts) and a slight shift in the integrity score in favour of New Jersey (12 pts vs 13 pts). The only market to score a single-digit result was India who barely scraped together a rating of 9/100, with its existing regulatory framework scoring an abysmal 3 points.­ 2. The 10 Core Pillars of a Strong Betting Market By creating a matrix that balanced the highest scoring regions against the lowest scoring regions, H2 was able to define ten core values and offerings that were ubiquitous across the leading regions and either missing or abused in the weaker scoring zones. Based on this evidence they proposed the following market requirements: Betting must be available to bettors through both land-based venues and through licensed and regulated online partners. This provides freedom, choice and lowers the chances of them using unregulated sites. The licensing of betting providers must be either unlimited or set at a level that maximised operator and player interest. This negates the decision by some markets to offer monopolies to government gaming groups. Licensing fees must be in alignment with the costs of regulating the market. Safer gambling and player protection programs must be at the forefront of the jurisdiction development plans. The best balance for taxation lies in the 15%-20% of gross gaming revenue (GGR) range. Limited or no additional fees and taxes should be levied. Bettors need a wide variety of betting options including single-event bets, parlays, prop bets, fixed odds and more. Again, this safeguards them from being lured to unregulated betting sites. Allowance must be made for the operators to provide as many markets as possible, not be restricted by arbitrary limitations. The Gaming Authority needs to develop a robust set of protocols and processes aimed at promoting betting integrity. Advertising and sponsorships need to be carefully controlled to avoid abuse. This is of particular importance when it comes to celebrity endorsements, event sponsorships and social media accounts aimed at younger audiences. Finding the correct balance of these core tenets is not something that can be done overnight, however, based on this study most new and existing markets could begin to build their ‘better mousetrap’ by dissecting the regulations of the top scoring jurisdictions and evolving them to meet local needs. 3. Lessons Learnt from €1.15 Billion in Bets As the saying goes “the devil is in the details” and by not only reviewing the regulations on paper but digging into actual player behaviours, H2 was able to truly gain a sense of how well the market functioned, protected its players, and incentivised prospective business partners. To do so H2 employed its vast research and analysis resources combining both manual and AI-driven reviews of the betting behaviours evidenced in total bets placed worth €115 billion! The key takeaways from this analysis showed that: Betting integrity is incredibly high across the global market at 99.6%. This means that for every 2700 sporting events taking place around the world only a single alert is raised, many of which prove to be false positives when investigated. With only 1% of global turnover coming from in-play bets the assumption that only offering pre-game betting is safer has been proven to be a false assumption. 20% of all football-related betting alerts are generated by land-based betting venues disproving the assumption that online betting is more prone to fraud. The global regulated sports betting industry only loses €21 million per year to match-fixing. The basic stats go a long way to refuting the position held by many of the regions which rated poorly as to why they are hesitant to offer online betting, allow certain types of betting options, and as is the case with some countries, refuse to offer betting at all to preserve the sanctity of their sporting leagues.
  3. An ongoing challenge for digital solutions and products is gaining the respect of established organisations and institutions. This is true of land-based casinos resistance to creating online partnerships, fiat-based banking resisting the inevitable transition to cryptocurrency and till quite recently the Olympic Committees reticence to acknowledge that esports deserves to stand alongside the traditional track and field events. However, those mindsets have begun to shift, subtly in some instance and dramatically in others, as the long-term impact of the pandemic is realised on every aspect of life, including banking, sports, gambling and even education. Olympic Committee Looks to the Future The International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a report outlining their vision for the Olympic Games for the next five years titled “Olympic Agenda 2020+5: 15 Recommendations”. This report outlined the following key challenges which the IOC believe to be the roadmap for the development of a stronger more sustainable games: Solidarity – promoting unity and peace through unity in sports despite increasing social, political and economic polarisation. Digitalisation – accepting and integrating new technology in the face of the new digital normal created by the pandemic. Sustainable Development – the IOC sees an opportunity to make a real difference worldwide through their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Credibility – transcend the loss of trust in traditional institutions through integrity, transparency, and good governance. Economic and Financial Resilience - emphasise the Olympic Games contribution to the recovery from the financial crisis triggered by the pandemic. Of particular interest is their increasingly open-minded view of digital development and the new normal that is creates in a post-pandemic world: “COVID-19 has accelerated the digitalisation of society. The physical and digital worlds are progressively merging. This gives us the opportunity to further embrace digital technology as a powerful tool to address people more directly and promote the Olympic values.” This decision to step away from their 2017 claim that they did not believe competitive digital games should ever be considered as sporting activities could be the tipping point that one day sees Olympic eSports become a reality. Virtual Sports: A Green Shoot In the 2020+5 agenda the development of virtual sports and engaging “video gaming communities” was listed as one of the core recommendations for the future of the Olympic Games. They have finally acknowledged the massive reach of video gaming and the power inherent in the communities that have formed in support of various competitive sports games such as FIFA, NBA and others digital sports games. The IOC has also shown interest in the development of Virtual and Augmented Reality to include a level of physicality in games. This could mean the rise of new stars in sports such as archery, bowling, even skiing – all of who compete exclusively in the digital Olympics. Their initial touchpoints for these developments would be to: Establish virtual and simulated forms of Olympic sports Launch unique Olympic products and experiences through virtual and simulated forms of sports The addition of physical virtual sports in the Olympic Programme Support local partnerships between sport and video gaming communities to encourage youth engagement Make available Olympic athlete-related online programmes and digital tools to the competitive video gaming community to support their physical and mental well-being Ultimately the IOC believes that a virtual sports connection is an invaluable source of positive brand association for recognised sport teams and associations. Furthermore, it has the potential to serve as a drawcard, encouraging youth participation in the physical form of the sport they enjoy playing digitally. With the IOC’s dedication to youth health and wellbeing through physical activity, this is a hot button topic for the future of virtual sports in the Olympics. The Future of Olympic eSports A seemingly glaring omission in the 2020+5 agenda is in specific inclusion of competitive esports in their current planning. The short answer is that the IOC has several concerns about esports which currently hamper its inclusion in the Olympics: Most competitive esports are what deem to be “violent” games. The perceived lack of a healthy lifestyle that esports promotes. They have a preference for games based on real-world sports. The Committee did however acknowledge the skill, training and dedication that esports stars apply to achieving the upper echelons of their respective disciplines. This statement goes a long way to having esports players recognised as ‘sports stars’ and not merely ‘gamers’ which in traditional circles has been used in a dismissive manner. With cooperation between esports leagues and the IOC to include a health and fitness component to their contracts with Olympic hopefuls, increased education for the Committee on how the conflicts presented in video games are not triggers for real-life violence and the development of Olympics-aligned versions of popular games, the future of Olympic eSports is brighter than one might initially think. The adoption of virtual sports will allow for video games to become a normal part of the Olympic Games conversation, much like how Bitcoin has been invaluable in educating and normalising cryptocurrencies. Once the heads of the Olympic Committee are comfortable with virtual sports it will be a much simpler process to begin integrating a wide variety of competitive titles like Valorant, League of Legends, Magic the Gathering and myriads of other games that have fan bases that number in the multiple millions worldwide. How Olympic Sports Are Selected Assuming a world where virtual and esports are an accepted part of the Olympic Games, the question becomes how a particular sport gets approved as an Olympic sport. It is important to remember that there are two levels of Olympic approval for sporting events. First, there is IOC recognition which requires a sport to be overseen by an international non-governmental organisation. Secondly, the overseeing body must then administer and enforce all Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code requirements. At this point the sport is simply recognised by the IOC, it has not yet received the green light to be a sporting event that is competed in at the Olympic Games themselves. Here are three key qualifying criteria for competitive sports: The sport must be played by men in a minimum of 75 countries across 4 continents. The sport must be played by women in a minimum of 40 countries across 3 continents. The sport must increase the value and appeal of the games worldwide. Based on the criteria listed above every popular Battle Royale (Fortnite) and MOBA game (League of Legends) on Twitch should automatically qualify for inclusion in the Olympic Games, especially since the Committee has been known to add and remove competitive sports based on current media interest and public awareness.
  4. When you hear how much you can make playing video games these days, you might be tempted to pick up a controller – or devote more of your time to the pursuit in the event you’re already a gamer. In just a few short years of playing, esports athletes are growing net worths equivalent to those in traditional sports. Teams are earning nearly $5 million in a single competition, and all you need is a controller and a game to get started. If temptation has gotten the best of you, you’re not alone: There’s no end in sight for more players and more money entering the industry. Using data from existing esports players’ stats and demographics, we were able to see what typically happens once a person gets started in the sport. Your age, your country, and even what types of games you think you’d like to play can factor into whether you have a shot. Keep reading to find out more. Rise of the Digital Athlete We weren’t kidding when we said esports is exploding. The graph above denotes the rise of esports in terms of annual total active players as well as the total prize money in esports over time. Using the number of tournaments reported for each year, we were also able to calculate the average earnings per tournament as the years progress. Some say the earliest video game competition dates back to 1972 – Stanford University students competed in a Spacewars tournament, and the prize was a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone. By the 1980s, Atari had popularized gaming competitions, while classics like Pacman, Pong, and Space Invaders gained worldwide notoriety. Later, 2002 saw the release of Xbox Live, which brought online play to all of its console owners. Fast forward to 2019, and over $227 million was awarded in esports prize money. Per tournament, this averaged to $44,152 last year alone. Over the last decade, esports has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. As recently as 2000, there were only 258 active esports players competing. Today, there are more than 25,000. And there’s more money to be made – beyond competition earnings, sponsors have made room for many lucrative careers. Major networks like ESPN are getting increasingly invested in video games’ top players, but there are also livestreaming sites like Twitch that offer less hardcore gamers the chance to earn paychecks. Aging Into Esports Next, we wondered how age factors into esports success. Video games may sound like a young person’s sport, but the lack of physical exertion in video games (as compared to typical athletics) could theoretically give older players a fighting chance. Only one player among the top 20 lifetime highest-earning players is under the age of 20. His name is Kyle Giersdorf, and he’s a 17-year-old from the United States. In just three short years of playing esports, he’s already earned over $3 million. More often, the top earners skewed slightly older: 53% of the top 500 players are between the ages of 25 and 29, and this age group, along with those in their early 20s, were those with the highest median earnings. Only 1.5% of top players are 35 or older. To break this down as your hypothetical “salary,” let’s take a look at top earner Johan Sundstein from Denmark. He’s 26 years old and has earned nearly $7 million in his career. But that’s the very top earner globally, and it’s taken him 11 years to accumulate his fortune. That works out to roughly a $630,000 annual salary. Of course that’s a great salary, but it is significantly lower than the earnings of some top athletes in traditional sports – Lebron James made nearly $89 million last year. However, esports is relatively young compared to traditional sports leagues, so it’s possible salaries like that will come to esports athletes in time. Worldwide Winners Your country also can impact your odds of making it to the top. The next part of our study looked at the percentage of players from different countries ranked in the top 500 players overall. The five most lucrative games over time were also compared by country. The top three countries for esports champions were the United States (21.3%), Korea (16.6%), and China (14.1%). That said, certain games proved much more lucrative in some countries than others. South Korea has a particular passion for video game culture, and playing is considered a primary form of social activity. Similar things can be said of both the U.S. and China as well, where more players connect with one another this way. The most lucrative game overall – Dota 2 – is what’s known as a multiplayer online battle arena- or MOBA-style game, and it has become incredibly successful in China. Thus far, Dota 2 has earned players in the country $64.6 million. Recently, though, China had to ban the team Newbee from competitions after they were caught fixing Dota 2 matches. Fortnite, whose franchise is worth an estimated $2 billion on its own, has already earned American players over $31 million. This is a battle royale-style game, where 100 players attempt to out-survive one another. And the world’s second most lucrative game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, is dominated by Denmark, with the country’s players garnering $14.7 million in winnings. Counter-Strike is a multiplayer first person shooter where teams of terrorists fight against counter-terrorists. Earning Styles The final portion of our study analyzed player earnings by their preferred genres and games. It also looks at which games would have the most competition as well as the most prize money to be won. These two numbers were used to calculate the games with the highest potential earnings per player. The kinds of games that brought home the biggest paychecks also had the most players – or the most competition. First person shooter was the top genre of choice with 39.1% of players, followed by MOBA games (16.9% of players). These two games earned players $210.5 million and $346.7 million, respectively. Dota 2, a particularly lucrative choice for a MOBA game, also had the highest potential earnings per player. With 3,681 players playing the game and $224.5 million in lifetime prize money, each gamer has an average potential earning of $61,007. The biggest competition may have been for players choosing Counter Strike, however: Nearly 13,000 competitors are vying for $96.5 million in total prizes. Follow the Money The potential to make the most esports money depends on a number of factors. As the data showed, the top video game players tended to be in their early-to-mid 20s and often lived in the U.S., Korea, and Denmark. Dota 2 was helping players earn more than any other game, but particularly for those in China. If you’re interested in getting involved, there couldn’t be a better time. The competition may be getting fiercer, but jackpots and financing of the sport are also increasing. That said, your chances of success are likely improved if you start before hitting 30, though there are successful older gamers. Regardless of age, be ready to put in the work: Current players have noted the sleepless nights and endless hours of practice it takes to make it to the top. And you certainly don’t have to wait to become the world’s best player to start having fun. While we can’t guarantee the odds are in your favor, there are certainly more opportunities to get involved in the sport than there previously were. And the sooner you get started, the better. Methodology Using data from Esportsearnings.com, we sought to explore the rise of esports and the feasibility of becoming an athlete within the sport. When examining the age of esports players, we confined our analysis to players ranked in the global top 500 players by overall earnings. Age data were not available for some players. The same was true of country data for a small percentage of players in the top 500. We also looked at countries’ dominance across different games. We looked at the top five games for overall prize money awarded. It should be noted that for all prize money data, totals are based both on game release dates and the date range of available data, which can fluctuate across different games and genres. The Esportsearnings.com site classifies games into 10 genres. Looking at data across all genres, we sought to find the total number of players in each genre. Prize money totals by genre are across the entire available time frame, rather than for a specific year. Finally, when we assessed the specific games with the highest potential earnings per player, we divided the total lifetime prize money awarded in a game and divided it by the number of players for that specific game. We confined our analysis to games with at least 50 players. Again, these should be considered potential lifetime earnings, rather than potential earnings in a single calendar year. Limitations As is clearly stated on the Esportsearnings.com website, the site relies on user contributions of information and publicly available data sources. Therefore, the completeness and timeliness of the data can be hard to estimate. This project is purely exploratory. Fair Use Statement While esports has steadily risen in popularity over the years, becoming a pro in the sport is by no means easy. If someone you know would benefit from the information in this project, you are free to share for noncommercial reuse. We ask that you link back here so the project can be viewed in its entirety and the methodology can be reviewed. This also gives credit to our contributors who make this work possible.
  5. The humble video game is a fond friend for most adults in the world. It was how we went on adventures to splendid new worlds, learned about our preferences in life – battle lines were drawn over whether to play Halo, FIFA, Final Fantasy or Need for Speed – and more recently determined your career choices in life. In recent years gaming has evolved from something children are allowed to do in order to give their parents a break to a multi-billion Euro industry that creates opportunities for coders, designers, musical score producers and marketing executives. However it is not only corporate entities who are benefiting from gaming as streamers on platforms like Twitch, Facebook and YouTube and eSports professionals, who compete for massive cash prizes, have created a whole new career niche around gaming. The Nerdy History of the First Video Game Any discussions of video games will have older generations wistfully remembering their Atari video game system, which comprised almost solely of Pong, or perhaps the more beloved Nintendo system. The reality, however, is that the first commercially available video game was produced by a physicist named William Higinbotham back in October 1958. As the head of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s instrumentation group, he felt it was his job to ensure their annual open day was exciting for the visitors. He came up with the idea for a tennis game which would allow the event’s guests to have an interactive experience. Using his experience with radar systems Higinbotham conceptualised and built the first tennis video game, Tennis for Two, in less than two weeks. The game was a smash hit with long lines of players, later he would say of the launch title: “It never occurred to me that I was doing anything very exciting. The long line of people I thought was not because this was so great but because all the rest of the things were so dull” Despite being an early adopter of what would one day become one of the world’s largest and most profitable industries Higinbotham never made any money from his game, nor could he since he was a Federal employee and any patents he submitted would have become government property. Early Consoles & Vintage Game Collecting The early 1970s would see standing arcade games become a fixture of shops and arcades where youth would congregate and spend the money they had begged from their parents or earned doing chores but nothing lit a fire under gamers like the chance to own your gaming console. These early consoles presented some challenges of their own: The Magnavox, Nintendo and Atari consoles of the 70s ranged in price from $75 up to $199, in present terms this is from $400 up to $750. By the late 70s, only 15 million households owned a television set in the US, which was a requirement for playing video game consoles. Even then it was only one set which meant gaming had to wait till the family wasn’t using it. If you were lucky enough to get a console and had a television to play it on the average game would cost around $40 which equates to about $140 today. It is worth keeping in mind that the minimum wage in the 1970s was less than $2 per hour, making putting these kinds of entertainment expenses out of reach for the many middle to lower class families. Rather than bury these classic games in the annals of history these fond memories, often of renting the games or playing at a friend’s house, has led to a rabid vintage game collecting market where boxed, or near mint condition, Nintendo, Magnavox, Atari, Coleco Vision and Mattel’s Intellivision systems are bought for a premium. The games themselves are where the real value lies with some really bad games, also knowns as lemons, which sold poorly during their heyday now being worth small fortunes due to scarcity. Here are just some of the crazy price ranges these retro games can ask: Stadium Events (1987) by Bandai – up to $40,000 Air Raid (1984) by Atari – up to $34,000 Gold Nintendo World Championships (1990) – up to $30,000 There are also stories of games which plummeted in value as their scarcity evaporated. One such game is Atari’s E.T. which was a terrible game and sold so poorly that thousands of copies were destroyed. This resulted in the copies which remained reaching prices of up to $37,000 on eBay. However, a 2014 dig discovered nearly 800,000 copies of E.T. in a landfill. The sudden flood of copies onto the market saw the value of the game drop to as low as $5! The eSports Evolution From the 1980s to the present day many original consoles fell away leaving us with the PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch as the only names in console gaming. These systems are far more complex delivering gorgeous 3D graphics and finger-twisting gameplay with some systems offering the option to live out your favourite new adventure in 4K! It is not only the systems that have evolved but also why people play games. Far from a childish pursuit, the advent of competitive gaming events has given rise to a multi-billion Euro competitive eSports industry comprised of both team and individual competitions. The prize money available to this burgeoning competitive sector is astounding: Dota 2 – prize pool of more than $200 million CS:GO – prize pool of more than $87 million Fortnite – prize pool of more than $84 million League of Legends – prize pool of more than $70 million Starcraft 2 – prize pool of more than $30 million While the competitive scene draws a lot of attention when it comes to making money a lesser-known component of the industry is live streaming. A former MLG National Champion and now Warzone streamer, Nick Mercs, recently crossed the 50,000 subscriber mark on his Twitch channel. Twitch charges a minimum of $4.99 per month per subscription, at the minimum split of 50% this means Nick is earning at least $125,000 per month, this figure excludes in-app advertising by big brands, sponsorships, tips (which are called Bits in the Twitch ecosystem) and the sales of his own MFAM branded merchandise. If gaming isn’t your forte but betting is there is a growing eSports betting market where bookmakers like Betway offer odds on the outcomes of various international gaming events. Whichever way you look at it, eSports is on the rise and the money will follow. Growth of Mobile Gaming When the first mobile phone launched it revolutionised how we communicated around the world, what no one foresaw was that these “phones” would evolve into powerful handheld gaming devices. With improved processing power, massive SSD hard drives and picture-perfect 4K displays the mobile phone has become a global mobile gaming playground worth more than $60 billion! Initially, mobile gaming was limited to popular free to play gaming titles like Candy Crush Saga, which generated revenue, not through game sales but microtransactions which allowed the player to bypass delays and timers to keep them in the game. At its peak, the game was reported to make $1 million a day from these small in-game purchases. The Nintendo owned Pokémon GO augmented reality game rocked the mobile gaming market to its core when it skyrocketed up the charts in 2016. By late 2019 the game had already generated more than $3 billion in revenue from in-app microtransactions boasting more than 147 million active monthly players. Since then all major studios have been working tirelessly on their market capitalisation strategy with eSports titles all offering if not their core game on mobile, then at least a standalone game featuring the characters and lore from their main game, as a way to attract this spend happy market sector. Gaming’s Impact on Casino Game Development Gaming has had an impact on the casino games we enjoy today in terms of technology, design and branded crossovers: ✓Mobile Technology: The online casino game development experts have always been at the cutting edge of any new technology and customer experience requirement. In 2004, long before other markets considered the mobile device a valid gaming platform Microgaming launched the first mobile casino. They would also go on to release the first slot for use with a smartwatch, while the technology never really grabbed mainstream appeal like mobile gaming it showed their commitment to offering players gaming whenever and wherever they wanted it. ✓Design and Gameplay: More recently we saw mobile gaming impact the way in which online slot-type games played out on screen. Puzzle games like Candy Crush and Montezuma which featured exploding symbols and non-standard reels heavily influenced games like Gonzo’s Quest and Finn and the Swirly Spin. Visually there was a move away from a more realistic art style to oversized brightly coloured icons with the inclusion of pops and explosions to emulate the onscreen “excitement” found in so many casual game titles on mobile. ✓Nostalgia Hooks: There are a number of online slots which lean into our nostalgia for retro gaming. Games like Hellcatraz do this purely through their visual design and layout, the faux 16-bit graphics and vertical scale being reminiscent of the 1986 arcade classic Rampage. However, 2020 saw NetEnt release an official Street Fighter II: The World Warrior video slot featuring the full suite of fighters, a reel set emulating the game screen including fighter specific locations, the original soundtrack and in-game sound effects. They even went so far as to include mini-games from the arcade game like vehicle destruction! Celebrating Video Game Day Whether you're an avid gamer or haven't really picked up a controller in years why not join us in celebrating Video Game Day by loading up your favourite game and taking a moment to remember how many great adventures you've had over the years.
  6. It's no secret that gaming is more popular than ever. And now thanks to the internet, you can even enjoy watching other players anywhere in the world via online gaming. This is largely due to websites like Twitch. If you've never used Twitch, you're definitely in for a treat. Twitch makes it possible for users to watch and learn from the best of the best, which is great for taking your gambling and gaming skills to the next level. This article takes a look at how you can make the most of casino streaming. Keep reading to discover insight into the wild world of Twitch gambling and get a better understanding of how it works. What is Online Casino On Twitch Exactly? Twitch was founded in 2011 as a platform for broadcasting video games but has also become extremely popular with users for watching Twitch casino players. It allows users to learn more about the game without having to risk their own money. Watching skilled players at their best is a lot of fun, yet can also be used as a great learning tool for expanding your knowledge of casino games. Why Do People Watch Slots On Twitch? The answer is pretty simply: watching Twitch slots is fun! Twitch also serves as a social platform, enabling users to chat while they play at home or watch live streaming as a community of gaming fans. Watching slots being live streamed is also the ideal way to learn strategy while becoming more familiar with the various types of machines. What Do You Need to Get Started? All it takes to get started is to create an account. This will take only a few minutes on the Twitch website. Next, simply download the streaming software and you'll be ready to connect to the broadcast of your choice. Can You Live Stream In a Casino? Most casinos won't let you live stream from their property. Thus you'll need to limit your live stream activities to online casinos. How Do Casino Streamers Make money? Online casino streamers make money primarily in the same way you'd make money on other platforms such as Youtube. This includes the use of ad revue, Twitch Affiliate Program, or even by attracting sponsorship deals. Keep in mind that becoming a member of the Twitch Affiliate Program isn't easy. You'll need a minimum of 50 followers within the last 30 days, a minimum of 500 total broadcast minutes, and 7 unique broadcast day, with an average of more than 3 concurrent viewers. Just make sure that you're familiar with Twitch affiliate rules before getting started. How Much Do Casino Streamers Make? How much should you expect to make from casino streaming? That demands on the number of followers you have. The secret to building a successful Twitch channel is to get as many followers as possible, get a lucrative sponsorship, and then maximize ad dollars. A Guide to Casino Streaming and Gaming On Twitch Watching casino streaming on Twitch is fun. It can also be lucrative. The key is to leverage your skills as a top player to attract a huge following of loyal viewers. So don't miss out on the fun! Create an account, log on, and start live streaming today!
  7. • 77% of respondents believed video games make social distancing easier. • 68% of respondents agreed video games reduce stress surrounding COVID-19; half of gamers said games distract them from negative news during this time. • Nearly half of gamers surveyed had met up with friends in video games while social distancing. • Discord was the most preferred voice communication platform for gamers during the COVID-19 pandemic. • Gamers favored the PlayStation 4 over the Xbox One while adhering to stay-at-home orders. The question of how we spend our time has really been put under the microscope lately. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone's schedules (to say the least), and whether your calendar got busier or blew wide open, you may have already learned a thing or two from the way your days have changed. Maybe you've gained a new skill, found ways to socialize, or have gotten creative. But perhaps you're just looking for ways to cope with the stress. Based on recent findings, however, there may be something that provides the perfect intersection: video games. We spoke to 1,000 gamers who were actively practicing social distancing. They shared how they've continued to socialize using video games, as well as how gaming has helped them to cope with the stress of COVID-19. Continue scrolling to see what the gaming community has to say during these trying times. Gaming at Home Even during the height of the pandemic, using video games to socialize wasn't half bad. Most respondents rated the experience as "good," "very good," or even "excellent." In-game chat was twice as popular as Zoom to communicate with other gamers, as well. But what did video game socializing actually involve? A lot of the same things normal life would, just virtually. More than 46% had used video games to meet up with friends, and another 55% of respondents attempted to recreate real-life scenarios of some kind. Things like birthdays, baby showers, and even weddings are being celebrated online and often include virtual games. Eight percent of respondents said they had also gone on a date in a video game since the pandemic began. That said, women were less likely to enjoy socializing in video games. Unfortunately, video games can be breeding grounds for sexual harassment, particularly of women. Of course, both men and women should socialize only where they feel safe, as they would in real life. Consoles for Remote Life The "console war" (as many techies call it) between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was alive and well during the quarantine. This particular battle, however, was won by PlayStation: 23% preferred PS4 during this time, while Xbox served just 13.6%. PlayStation may be particularly conducive to socialization while in isolation –some fans praise the console's "social screen" feature, which allows others to see what you're seeing. Another clear standout in quarantine was the Mario franchise. Mario Kart was the most popular video game to play while social distancing. And it also helped people feel the best: Players ranked this game as one of the least stressful things they could play during social isolation. It lost only to Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Minecraft. Call of Duty was almost as popular as Mario Kart but was the most stressful game to play in quarantine, according to gamers. Modern Warfare and Black Ops 4 (both Call of Duty games) took first and second place, respectively, for the most stressful video games. Gaming Schedules Without a normal schedule to adhere to, respondents found a variety of times that worked well for gaming. Evenings between 6 and 10 p.m. worked best, but afternoons and playing throughout the day were also popular. These hours added up to an average of 15 hours each week of gaming while social distancing. But nearly a third of respondents spent more than 20 hours each week playing video games during isolation. Those hours spent gaming represented much more than the games themselves, as we came to find out. Around 77% said video games make it easier to socially distance. In many ways, video games made them feel more connected to positive things: 59.1% felt more connected to friends, 68.2% saw a reduction in COVID-19-related stress, and 50% used the games to distract from negative news. Many even censored negativity – 45.5% chose to avoid virtual violence during these times. Financing Gaming During COVID-19 Quarantine games weren't all free, however. While social distancing, gamers spent an average of $101. Nearly 41% of gamers spent money on video games, and 26.6% purchased downloadable content, while a much smaller percentage bought things like headsets and new controllers. Nearly 1 in 5 gamers planned to spend their coronavirus stimulus check on something video game-related. More specifically, around 14% said they would purchase video games, 6.1% said they would use the check to buy downloadable content, and 5.3% were going to use the funds on a console. When all was said and done, gamers anticipated using 38% of the check on gaming supplies. How to Start Gaming Now With all of the benefits respondents expressed, we wanted to know if they would recommend it to others. We figured a few suggestions for enjoyable ways to pass the time in quarantine couldn't hurt. Sixty-eight percent believed nongamers should get in on the action and give video games a try while social distancing, and around 51% said to try it with family or friends. If finances are a concern (which they are for many during such an economically turbulent time), gamers had a solution for this as well: 47.2% suggested starting with free-to-play games. Identifying the right game for you was also highly recommended. This means that even if your first gaming experience isn't ideal, there may be other genres to try that are better suited to you. The recommendations over consoles highlighted a rivalry once more – gamers were fairly evenly split over Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but the first two were ultimately the top choices. The Mario series was the top recommended game for social distancing. Keep Playing Gamers continued to list a host of helpful tips for both existing players and anyone else looking to get started in the exciting world of virtual games. During the height of social distancing, now more than ever seems like the perfect time to give gaming a try. Who knows? You may develop some great online relationships and feel a little less stressed. Fair Use Statement Social distancing has certainly spiked the need for sharing. If you know someone who you’d like to share these contents with, you are welcome to do so as long as your purposes are noncommercial. You must also link back to this page so our contributors can receive proper credit for their work.
  8. Games with loot are everywhere these days. They aren't restricted to free mobile games that try to leech from your wallet anymore. In the third quarter of 2019, gamers spent a staggering $1.4 billion on these so-called microtransactions. Loot boxes came to be controversial with the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2 back in 2017. This game was full-price and should have given players everything as part of the game's progression. Instead, gamers had to make their characters more powerful through loot boxes that were randomly won during games. In theory, this should have been fair across the board, with random upgrades given to players equally. Yet this is where microtransactions rear their head: some gamers paid real money to buy more loot boxes and progress faster. The result was an unbalanced competitive videogame. Yet this isn't the only problem with loot boxes. Some countries have been asking one key question: are loot boxes gambling? They rely on chance, so are they? In this article, we're going to take a look at microtransactions in video games to see whether loot boxes are similar to gambling. Read on and find out more! What Are Loot Boxes? Loot boxes are exactly like they sound like: they're digital boxes that are full of loot to help players in the game. Some argue that games with loot begin with Blizzard's Overwatch but they go back further than that. Team Fortress 2 is a game published by Valve that was released back in 2007. For a while, it was a standard online shooter but it later started adding more and more cosmetic items. It soon got to the point where Team Fortress 2 was jokingly referred to as a "hat simulator" by gamers. After a while, Valve began adding more weapons to the games. These could be won through chance but players would sometimes be rewarded with a locked loot box. To unlock it, you'd need a key. These keys became something of a cryptocurrency. Players could buy items with keys and skip the crate or even pay for game codes with keys on various websites. Overwatch took this model but it can be differentiated from other games with loot by the fact that all of its loot box items are cosmetic. Players won't lose anything if they don't unlock them. Mobile games are typically much more predatory with their loot boxes, with free games offering faster progress in exchange for real money, which buys the player a loot box. What is the Problem With Loot Boxes? Microtransactions in video games are controversial for several reasons. First off, there's the way it affects gameplay. If players can pay-to-win, players who don't pay have the odds stacked against them: see Battlefront 2's problems. Then there are the ethical issues. A lot of these games will be played by children, often on their parents' devices. The same devices that have their parents' payment information saved. You can see where this is going, can't you? You don't have to look far to see reports of children spending thousands of dollars on their parents' cards in these games. You can argue that the parents should have their information more locked down, but are games with loot preying on children? Other people have argued that loot boxes are a gateway to gambling, setting up children for a life of addiction. This is somewhat alarmist but it does betoken a significant point. Are loot boxes gambling? If they are, how are governments going to regulate it? It's hard to argue against the theory that loot boxes are gambling. When randomly won, they rely on pure chance, but there's always that temptation to pay more to get more loot boxes for better odds. They might not be a casino game, but the same larger purpose is at play. One of the psychological hallmarks of gambling addiction is "loss chasing". This is an attempt to claw back lost money through more gambling. Is it loss chasing to buy more loot boxes in the hopes of getting that rare gear you've not yet won? How Games With Loot Are Being Regulated In the United States, games with loot are not being regulated as gambling. Around the world, however, governments have started looking at microtransactions in video games with a more skeptical eye. In the United Kingdom, for instance, officials have recommended that loot boxes be treated as gambling. This would put a tighter age limit on games with loot boxes and require a maximum daily spend limit be enforced for children. In Japan, the government ruled that gamers would no longer be able to assemble a collection of items they've won from loot boxes into a more powerful item. These prizes would be treated as such under Japanese gambling law. As a result, the so-called "complete gacha" have been removed from most Japanese games, despite some loopholes. The Dutch Gaming Authority wrote a study in 2018 that found that four of 10 studied games violated gambling laws. As a result, popular video games like Team Fortress 2 and Rocket League no longer let Dutch players open loot boxes. Similar legislation was put into place in Belgium. In Australia, the government has recently proposed that loot boxes should be locked behind an age-gate. To access them, players would need to verify their age with the company. Meanwhile, New Zealand has so far argued that loot boxes do not constitute gambling. Should Loot Boxes Be Regulated? There isn't a strong argument to be made against the idea of loot boxes being gambling. They rely on chance and can have catastrophic effects on their players' wallets. While we aren't arguing for a ban on games with loot, they should face tighter regulation as online gambling does today. If you're a fan of loot boxes and buy them regularly, we would recommend checking out our list of tips for gambling responsibly in 2020.
  9. Today, over 1 billion people watch eSports. To put this into context, this is double the number of people who watch Formula 1 motor racing, 8 times the number for the World Series, and 10 times the number for the 2019 Super Bowl! Clearly, this type of "sport" has quickly taken the world by storm. But how did it even come about? And how did it manage to disrupt the dominant world of physical sports? In this article, we'll show you the world of competitive gaming, including its history and some iconic players. What Is eSports? As you may have guessed, "eSports" stands for "electronic sports." This is where people play video games competitively. In the beginning, it was a very niche type of pastime, with only gamers watching eSports. But as time went on, eSports became more and more mainstream. Today, many casual or non-gamers are avid fans and many bars cater to tournament viewings now. These tournaments are run just like with sports tournaments, with live coverage, commentators, replays, and more. It may seem like eSports has only just arrived on the scene, but the truth is, it has quite an extensive history. Read on to find out more. The History of eSports Believe it or not, the first official eSports tournament happened in the '70s. On October 19, 1972, students at Stanford University held a competition for Spacewar, which was a game from the 1960s. The winner of the very first eSport tournament was Bruce Baumgart. The prize? One year's subscription to the magazine Rolling Stone. While that was the first "official" eSports tournament, it wasn't until almost a decade later that eSports arrived on the mainstream scene and attracted the public eye. In 1980, Ataris put on the Space Invaders Championship; over 10,000 people flocked to this event, which caused quite a stir. Later on in the year, Walter Day created a video gaming world records organization called Twin Galaxies. These two things were the catalysts to video games becoming more and more popular in the mainstream over the next few decades. Competition Sparked Explosive Growth in the Industry Atari had a monopoly over video games in the 1980s, but when Nintendo arrived on the scene with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985, they became some hot competition for this giant. Next in line was the Sega Genesis, which hit the shelves in 1989. Nintendo did their part in growing the early eSports scene by holding their own tournaments. They started off with the Nintendo World Championships in 1990, which toured around the entire country. They then held another tournament in 1994 to promote the Super NES (SNES) after its release in 1991. Real competitive eSports became a reality when ID Software created their first-person shooter (FPS) Quake in 1996. A year later, they put on Red Annihilation, which was one of the first Quake events ID Software held. From this tournament, the first pro gamer was born: Dennis "Thresh" Fong. eSports Wasn't Just a Western Phenomenon If you follow eSports, then you'll know that the continent of Asia has a lot of professional gamers; more specifically, South Korea. How did that come to be? In the late 1990s, much of Asia went through a financial crisis. As a result, much of the youth would hang out at internet cafes, otherwise known as "PC Bangs." Here, they'd all gather to play Blizzard's StarCraft: Brood War and socialize. Brood War quickly became a national craze, which led to huge competitions in South Korea. The nation became so obsessed that they had gamer houses, where eSports competitors would live together and play StarCraft all day to up their APMs (actions per minute). Some Iconic Gamers We already mentioned that the first professional gamer was Thresh. But who else? Let's take a look at some iconic names in eSports. Ninja Ninja (Richard Tyler Blevins) is an American gamer who first got into eSports by playing Halo 3. However, he rose to extreme popularity in 2017 when he started streaming his gameplay on Fortnite Battle Royale. Stewie2K Stewie2K (Jacky Yip) is an American Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player. Currently, he's considered one of the best in this game. He's played for Cloud9, SK Gaming, and Team Liquid. Dyrus Dyrus (Marcus Hill) is also an American gamer. He made a name for himself by competing in League of Legends. In his career, he's played for teams All or Nothing, Epik Gamer, Team SoloMid, Delta Fox, and Meme Stream Team. Thinking About Joining eSports? After reading all this, you might be thinking: how do I join eSports? After all, it'd be fantastic to be paid for something you love to do. But it's not that simple, nor is it that easy. It's true that it's a lot more accessible nowadays to become a streamer and potentially, an eSports competitor. After all, Twitch has made it very easy to broadcast your gameplay to the masses. But it takes more than just passion to become one of the best eSports players. You have to live and breathe the game of your choice, and you have to be able to dedicate hours upon hours to practice and improve your skills. You'll also need to work well with others, as you'll most likely have to join a team to make it big. Watch as Competitive Gaming Takes the World by Storm There's no doubt about it: competitive gaming is here to stay, and it's here to also take the world by storm. For its humble beginnings in the 1970s to its massive presence today, eSports is a huge industry that'll change how people view "sports" in general. If you're looking for more information about eSports we recommend reading this comprehensive guide to competitive video gaming.
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