Over the last century, the world’s telecommunications companies have built out the complex infrastructure that makes the information age possible.
Hundreds of billions of dollars has been invested into phone lines, submarine cables, wireless towers, and fibre optics to connect the world. And with 5G innovations in the pipeline, the world has never been able to communicate faster and more effectively.
E-sports is regularly packing arenas with avid fans, spawning new professional teams and selling massive sponsorship deals. This boom in e-sports, an in online multiplayer gaming in general, has created a commercial audience of digital natives that is both young and affluent. It’s a growing segment that sees gaming as a lifestyle, and they see professional gamers and personalities as their heroes. According to Nielsen, Millennials are set to become the first generation of lifelong gamers. In recent years, the growth in professional gaming has been explosive. Already worth over $1 billion, the market is projected to triple by 2025. In 2019 e-sports saw a global audience of 453.8 million.
Telcos can be the perfect partner for e-sports companies to broaden their audience and provide content and bandwidth to an industry set to boom again.
But how can telcos tap into this market and what can they uniquely offer this segment at scale?
The need for speed
Any multiplayer gamer will tell you that the one sure-fire way to ruin the gaming experience is high latency, sometimes known as lag. This is an area telecoms providers are uniquely positioned to help with, especially with the advent of edge computing technology and 5g. Edge computing allows nearby devices to process data in real-time, allowing for lightning speed connections. Edge computing systems will be able to detect where each player is located, while creating a server in an optimum location that provides all the players with the same high bandwidth, low latency experience, levelling the playing field no matter where they are playing.
The security of any tournament whether it be a live action or streamed event is paramount. A tournament’s reputation is critical to the success. Networks must not only be robust enough to cope with the demands placed on them by competitors and the audience but must also be protected from intrusion and attack which could compromise an event watched by millions around the world. For providers who can deliver these added value services, this is an important addition to their offering.
However there are also other opportunities for telcos to monetise and make the most of the growth of e-sports. Beyond acting as the gatekeeper to the lightning fast connections required, telcos can also help to build online communities by delivering tailored e-sports content as well as enabling and promoting e-sports events. Ultimately these activities will help to create lifelong customers, create meaningful experiences and drive up the average revenue per user (ARPU).
While the current global health pandemic has left sports stadiums empty across the globe, it is online stadiums that are filling up with audiences and contestants determined to get their sports kick. The digital environment is becoming a safer space with streaming offering an unparalleled opportunity for e-sports companies to showcase their industry.
In recent months the growth of e-sports has accelerated still further. Popular games have been joined by other ‘stadium’ sports currently unable to take place. Formula 1 and Formula E are a great example of this trend. Whilst it’s likely that these sports will once again return to their natural amphitheatre, it has brought more people into the world of e-sports and got them interested.
For telcos this is only going to fuel the demand for fast, stable and secure infrastructure and provide an opportunity to deliver more exciting e-sports related content to fans.