eSports are a form of electronic sports competition in which competitors compete on gaming platforms and in video games, sometimes with a spectator audience. Their notoriety has increased significantly in recent years, especially during the pandemic.
Participation in the competitions is open not only to professional gamers, but also to fans, who, after registering or passing selections, can take part in the tournament.
Major competitions can be streamed through YouTube or Twitch platforms, and both participants and spectators can be present at the event, physically or remotely.
In 2021 there were 240 million fans actively playing games worldwide; by 2024 this is expected to increase to 291 million. As for the audience, however, compared to 474 million in 2021, 577 million are projected in 2024.
The estimated economic impact for the eSports sector, in Italy, amounts to between 45 and 47 million euros, according to data recently released by OIES (Osservatorio Italiano E Sports).
Blockchain and eSports, the benefits
The world of eSports has already approached blockchain very strongly. The advantages of this technology applied to eSports, lie mainly in the ability to track and validate results, ensuring transparency and data sharing with all participants on the platform.
The ability to clearly show the progress of tournaments and track transactions, through new technological models, results in increased trust on the part of all players and fans.
For example, one of the most immediate benefits of distributed ledgers lies in the ability to enroll all users on the platform so that awards are visible to all and transparent, including by leveraging on cryptocurrencies or tokens.
Startups entering the world of eSports have begun to turn to blockchain as early as the planning and fundraising stages. Initial Coin Offering (ICOs), fundraising via crowdfunding, are directly aimed at obtaining funding for a project using distributed ledgers. The operation of ICOs is based on the issuance of tokens that are sold in exchange for a fee intended to finance the initiative.
After purchasing the tokens, users actually become part of the system, which allows players and brands to both organize events and tournaments and set up prize pools for winners.
In this way, in addition to ensuring real sharing of the initiatives taken by the various tournament players, it is possible to increase the pool of users who aspire to become professional players in the world of eSports.
In addition to event organizers, professional players will also be able to make use of technology to broadcast their matches live, earning money on their channels through advertising.
Thus, a new perspective opens up for sponsorships, which can identify not only events and teams but also professional gamers with whom to sign mutually beneficial agreements.
Blockchain and eSports, toward the future
Blockchain represents an innovative circuit in which to give rise not only to economic exchanges, but also a virtual platform in which audiences and fans can be actively involved in the enjoyment of various initiatives.
In this way, all players on the scene find themselves playing an equally important role and gaining benefits regardless of their position in the ecosystem.
Novice gamers, who aspire to become professionals, often face quite a few difficulties in overcoming the barriers to entry created for the benefit of the preponderance of team sports that, by definition, require the creation and management of a team. Thanks to blockchain, this issue can be easily solved. Indeed, with modern platforms, gamers can challenge themselves individually: if interested in team competitions, they can easily find other “peers” (anywhere in the world) through recruitment platforms.
Blockchain and eSports: more security, trust and speed
Everything related to the contractual phase and financial transactions can be easily managed by the platform, resulting in faster time to make agreements and increased security and trust between the players in the exchange.
It is the creation of trust and the pursuit of transparency and security that are cornerstones not only for the success of platforms, but also for the growth and development of eSports.
With a decentralized and incorruptible method, the risk of system corruption can be reduced and what happens within the platform (including on the eSports-related betting side, for example) can be regulated in a crystal-clear manner.
What remains a substantial problem is the lack of established legal certainty, but the increase in litigation in the industry has led to a growth in attention to eSports regulation and will certainly produce case law in the near future that can increase protection for all gamers.