Many over the past year will have been exposed to the rapidly growing esports scene that has seemingly started to corner many different markets as new games have emerged with the growing audience – last year saw the rise of traditional sporting such as football and basketball in the esports space as well as motorsports with the likes of the huge iRacing tournaments that took place – but most have one thing in common, they all take place on PC. There had once been a thriving esports scene on console that has seemingly disappeared, but is there an opportunity for it to make a return?
Finding exclusivity in games – The biggest challenge will be finding a title that remains exclusive to the console base, as that’s something important for the PC esports market – the biggest games like League of Legends and Valorant aren’t available on console and so there’s no available competition. Other games like Call of Duty that were largely represented on console have since made the switch as this call of duty review shows the growing scene on PC since the shift too, and if the console market hopes to succeed then it may need to offer a title that isn’t available on other platforms whilst also being competitive enough to attract an audience.
(Image from gamespace.com)
Better options for broadcasting – Another vital part of the growing esports scene has been within how the games are broadcast – live streaming options on the likes of Twitch and YouTube have brought the games and big personalities to viewers for free throughout the history over esports over the past decade or so and have been vital for the growth. For the longest time however it wasn’t as easy to replicate on console and partly why the platforms fell behind, and whilst sharing features have somewhat changed this, the experience simply isn’t the same for viewers. This in particular is a space that requires change for the scene to grow.
A gradual change in audience – And the last point that certainly can’t be ignored is simply within the changing audience in general, whilst the recent release of the newest consoles over the holiday period suggested record sales and the biggest numbers for any release, the gap between PC which had traditionally lagged behind a little is starting to close. This may be because of different content creation opportunities or the fact that building a PC is more accessible than it had ever been in the past, but consoles certainly aren’t as dominant as they once were, and with esports on the table leaning towards PC, it may have been just enough to encourage those on the fence about changing to do so.
With a longer lifespan often around seven or eight years, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are expected to be in rotation for quite some time and as such there may be an opportunity to cover some ground lost to the PC market, but it also may not be enough and signal the end of a console era of gaming, and a new opportunity for online sporting.