It’s been well known for a few years that competitive gaming has a very large audience and could blossom into a massive industry. According to Newzoo, the global eSports audience is set to increase from 380 million in 2018 to 550 million in 2021, showing the grandeur of the industry already.
But, one of the perplexing issues in the industry is how EA Sports – creators of the annual FIFA, Madden, and NHL video games – haven’t been able to cement themselves as a top eSports brand given their huge player base for games based on traditional sports. Some of this may be down to their lack of belief in the profitability of the industry, but third-party companies getting involved in eSports are proving that it is very much on the rise, as are the many services that can work with the industry.
Rise of Thunderpick Underlying the Potential of eSports
Thunderpick prides themselves on offering an eSports betting experience that is specifically tailored to eSports fans and gamers – an offering that they claim cannot be offered by the standard established betting sites currently in existence. They achieve this by incorporating a wide range of social functions to create a community and challenges which mirror the competition of eSports.
After just two years, Thunderpick has become profitable, boasting over 275,000 customers placing their bets on top eSports titles like Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends. The rampant success of the innovative platform underlines the potential of not just eSports, but also all other industries linked to the budding industry, such as sports betting. Co-founder of Thunderpick Mateusz Jamiolkowski says that as the eSports market’s revenue is set to grow 27 percent year-on-year over the next three years, Thunderpick is “ready for major investments to take eSports betting into the next decade and beyond.”
FIFA Should Make its Push Now
The rise of Thunderpick shows how quickly the eSports industry is growing and how profitable it can be for all involved. However, EA Sports – who, logically, should have positioned themselves as a central figure during this ascendency – aren’t considered to have an eSports offering by many in the industry.
Due to the way in which their competitive gaming scene is based around Ultimate Team – a venture which contributed to EA earning $2.6 billion in services revenue in the 2017-18 fiscal year – users don’t have direct control over the majority of the players on the field at any one time, whereas in other eSports, one user controls one player. This, on top of the relatively small prize of $250,000 for winning their biggest tournament when the likes of Dota 2 and League of Legends have tournament prize pools in the multi-millions, has seen their titles struggle to gain legitimacy on the scene.
The world of eSports continues to grow at an exceptional rate, and if EA Sports wants to get a piece of the pie, they’ll need to change their focus to the team-based 11-vs-11 games where the computer doesn’t control 10 of the 11 players at a time. Then again, given the controversy around the loot boxes in Ultimate Team, perhaps EA are trying to squeeze the popular game mode for as much as they can before being forced to end its core functionality and then, perhaps, there’s a plan to focus on a more eSports-like game mode to push into the industry.