EiG: Can e-sports dislodge traditional sports in popularity stakes?

EiG: Can e-sports dislodge traditional sports in popularity stakes?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 Totally Gaming
ESL chief highlights increasing interest

The accessibility and flexibility of e-sports gives them the potential to overtake traditional sports as a pastime of choice for younger generations, ESL Chairman Jens Hilgers told EiG 2015 attendees at Arena Berlin today (Wednesday).

Hilgers detailed the rise over the past 15 years of ESL, which brings together gamers for competitive multiplayer contests in front of increasingly large crowds at stadia across the world.

Hilgers insisted that e-sports can seize on the reluctance of traditional sports to innovate and can grasp the interest of youngsters.

“Millennials are driving e-sports forward, and every new generation is now getting in touch with e-sports,” Hilgers said during his session entitled ‘e-sports – what competitive gaming can tell us about the future of player engagement’.

“After 10 years we were not generating profits, we had invested all our cash in experiments and we were still chasing a scalable model. Many companies were chasing the same vision too, but folded.

“But it finally started working around 2010 thanks to the free-to-play model and platforms such as live streaming video platform Twitch, and then all of a sudden game developers were our best friends.”

According to Hilgers, the advantage that e-sports has over traditional sport is that it is evolving constantly.

“E-sports is more meaningful than traditional sports,” he added.

“Things are boring if they don’t evolve and get better over time. Traditional sports won’t make that effort.

“E-sports games have a significantly higher strategic depth than traditional sports, and therefore a more sophisticated story to tell.

“The young generation growing up are much smarter than I am. They will not be entertained with boring, shallow stuff. Not only are the games changing every three to six months, but also the games are much more complex.”

Hilgers added that the accessibility of e-sports make them even more scalable.

“A sport is more exciting if you can do it yourself,” he said.

“Also, the e-sports community and players shape the game and final experience and have a strong voice, so it’s a transparent sport.

“I am not saying that people should not have physical exercise, but e-sports is the sport of the young generations.”

In wrapping up his entertaining presentation, Hilgers predicted a promising path ahead for e-sports.

“E-sports is not a one-trick pony,” he said. “It’s going to stay and grow. E-sports is going to change the world and we will fill stadia around the world – not 12 times per year as it is at the moment, but 200 times per year.”

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