Multiple sectors, including the field of social media, have been revolutionized by Esports' rapid growth around the world. Esports' communal nature has seen social media sites as an important feature in which sports fans gather online and witness competition excitement.
TV was once the go-to option among vast swathes of the population to influence brand perception - now, esports is taking the mantle as the medium that can influence many millions of people quickly. Please don’t confuse esports with online gaming, teen patti, poker, fantasy, rummy, real money gaming and or casual video games. Esports is when professional esports athletes compete against each other for game genres like Real Time Strategy (RTS), Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), Sports Simulation, Fighting, First Person Shooter (FPS) etc. and examples for such video games will be Counter Strike, FIFA, Clash Royale, DOTA2, Tekken7 etc.
In the pandemic lockdown across the world that forced isolation and social distancing, streaming sites such as Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming saw huge growth in 2020. A new balance of influence in sports media is unveiled by the streaming industry, providing a sense of community and interactivity across boundaries that conventional sports might have lacked in the past.
Increased fan-athlete engagement: Athletes connected with global fans off the field
By competing in professional Esports titles since 2020, many sports stars have approached Esports to engage with fans in real-time. By playing in FIFA Global Series 21 and many other Esports games, football star Trent Alexander-Arnold has brought his talents to the virtual arena. The digital media platform created by Esports has opened up opportunities for the entire sports industry to develop deeper fan connections.
We shifted very quickly from enjoying an esports experience larger than life in large stadiums across India to replicating the same virtual stadium experience that was only possible because of technology. Also, with a multitude of OTT platforms now being the standard in India, any household located in any part of India that has strong digital connectivity can now enjoy esports. Players, their teams, coaches and the audience are all digitally linked. A comment window helps players to interact with each other and the streamer, bringing together the video gaming community.
If your target audience is the Millennial, you would agree to the fact that they are not on Facebook, Twitter, they don’t watch TV, nor do they read newspapers; they are difficult to find and reach out. More so their retention time frame is very less. You have to look at from their perspective – so much is happening around them and very fast.
So, where are they!
New social media
Video games are the new social media of these millennial. Contrary to the common belief, these video gamers are very social but where do they socialize?
They socialize in the video games, platforms like Discord, Live streams, esports platforms. These video games have inbuilt capabilities where you can do text and voice calls with other players. For easy understanding, communication platforms like Discord are an advance version of your Zoom or Google meet; they follow their favorite streamers and communicate with each other and the streamer on live streams (you can live stream your game play on platforms like YouTube, Facebook Gaming etc.) and connect with other esports athletes on esports platforms like Gamingmonk, Gamerji, Ewars, Ustreak etc., where you can host your own esports events and compete in esports tournaments.
These new forms of Social Media are just not for socializing, you will be called as an esports athlete & make a career for yourself. You can win medals for the country (Esports has now been included in Asian Games 2022 as a medal sports, India won a bronze in Asian Games 2018, where esports was a demonstration sport) making your country & parents proud, rake in millions of dollars by winning esports tournaments (World Championship for DOTA2 had a massive prize pool of 34 Mn $/250 Crore Rupees), you are paid easily between Rs. 30k – 60k per month by streaming platforms to stream on their platforms and you can still money for yourself even if you are not a pro by participating in or hosting esports tournaments on platforms like Gamingmonk, Gamerji, Ewars, Ustreak etc.
There is a lot happening within these esports video games; ever thought that a Music concert can be held within a video game; yes you heard it right… Marshmello concert was organized online within Fortnite Game and it had more than 10 million people who watched this virtual performance.
You don’t need to be an endemic brand to be involved in esports, here are some of non-endemic brands who will trigger your out of the box thinking … FedEx, Mercedes, Geico, Adidas, Casper, Vodafone, Mt Dew, Gillette, Sephora, Chipotle, Universal, Head & Shoulders, Samsung, PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and the list goes on… Get your name in this list; get involved in esports “the new social media of Millennial”.
The article is written by Mr. Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India, a non-profit organization. With over 20 years of experience, he is an esports Evangelist, Hustler and a Telecom Veteran. As one of the country’s leading evangelists of esports, Lokesh continues to play an influential role in actively shaping the future of competitive esports in India.