The creation and the subsequent development of eSports in their professional capacity resulted in a fast-growing global game industry worth billions of dollars. Currently, the number of eSports viewers is approximately 300 million worldwide. Moreover, it is forecasted to rise up to 500 million by 2020. Having seen the prospects and the tremendous potential of eSports at play, the live video streaming platform YouTube stroke a multi-year broadcasting deal with the eSports platform Faceit. Similarly, the leader in online gaming broadcasts Twitch was acquired by Amazon. Hence, producers of eSports software are in fierce competition to establish dominance and make a mark on the global game market. But which one will pull ahead of the competition is a question that will be answered in the near future.
The extensive attention and popularity attached to eSports games come from the competitive flair deliberately embedded by software producers. Nevertheless, you should not be taken aback as video games with higher revenue and positive feedback by invested fans are more or less competing products. While eSports software developers and publishers are not exactly in short supply, the competitive video gaming scene is rather steered by three key players – Valve Corporation, Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment.
Blizzard Entertainment is one of the biggest developers of eSports games and has been responsible for developing some of the most widespread and well-liked games such as World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm. Starcraft II is another popular game developed by the company.
Riot Games is another well-known name when it comes to eSports creators. The company was established in 2006 and is based in Santa Monica, California. Riot was responsible for developing the popular League of Legends game that currently has 67 million players participating all over the world. Riot Games has grown at a rapid pace and now has 15 offices all over the world.
Valve Corporation is yet another major eSports creator with titles including Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Dota 2 set a new eSports record when it announced a prize pool of over $18 million in the International tournament.
Hi-Rez Studios is the creator of the immensely popular game called Smite. The company based out of Atlanta, Georgia was founded in 2005. The company also has offices in Brighton, UK, and Shenzen, China. Some of the other popular games that the company has developed include Paladins, Tribes and Jetpack Fighter.
Activision – Like Blizzard Entertainment, Activision is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. The company has been involved in the video gaming industry since 1979 and was the first independent developer of console games. Activision has been involved with several high-profile games over the years, including the Quake series, Doom 3 and Guitar Hero. Activision’s biggest link to esports is via the Call of Duty game series. They’re the owner and publishers of this series, and also operate the Call of Duty World League.
Gaming production is very demanding. There is a ton of competition and professionals in the industry which need to be up with their game. Many tasks and projects are going on but some of the most important are running all the teams of experts and making sure the entire process of updating games and publishing new games goes smoothly. The types of teams behind video game production include game engineers, all kinds of IT developers who will program all the games; graphic designers who will be responsible for all the graphics and front end development; artists who will create the next best game character; and animators who will do all the animations which is also a very specific job; additionally, there are various levels of project managers. At the end of the day, the most important thing is making sure that the new and updated games are ready to go out on time and are working smoothly. Who wants to play a game full of bugs?
Creating video games sounds like a fun job. However, it is a job and indeed a serious business. People's livelihood depends on it and that is where videogame fans need to draw the line between gaming as a form of entertainment and gaming as a form of business. It is a very creative field, and at the end of the day, the product is a result of the imagination of the entire team. But to get to that point, companies run teams, organize those teams and all the professionals working on the product, follow production schedules and work with the entire business network to make sure the product is released professionally. Other than the internal network, there is also the external network that software game production companies need to take into account. Just think about all the product licensing involved, all the various businesses that should be aligned and ready for product distribution, all the PR effort, the eSports teams, and players and social media postings, and let's not forget the financial aspect of it, and the budgets, salaries, expenses of all sorts that need to be kept on track. It is a very demanding business industry indeed. Video game production companies need to make sure that they have a very smooth production process in place.
Clearly, in the software video gaming industry, there are high barriers to entry. There are many different professionals from various fields involved. However, this industry is more or less a brand new industry. There are so many job ads for all kinds of people ranging from data analysts to IT game developers but most of the universities have recently started offering some aspects of gaming as a major. The reality is that in this particular industry, game production professionals have learned their jobs on the go. Combining the fact that the industry is quite young with the fact that most of the key players such as the most famous eSports players are very young themselves, makes it both one of the most exciting and challenging industries to enter at the same time!
Also, there is a lot of regulation and legal requirements for game providers that are constantly changing. GDPR is in place and everyone is aware that this is a data-heavy industry.
Although it is a little outside of the scope of game production, there are no clear standards for eSports players' professional behavior, given the fact that they are role models to some of the youngest YouTube demographics. A lot of the eSports players are raised in front of the computer and lack real soft skills, personal skills, public speaking skills (real public speaking, not just talking in front of the computer and recording). Furthermore, the industry has a bad reputation for the lifestyle it creates. Game producers need to adequately address and make sure to promote a healthier lifestyle, with actual real sports involved, developing social skills of the players, healthy eating habits as some of the eSports players are happy to indulge in junk food in front of the computer all day long. These are all opportunities that need to be pursued and the leaders in the industry will make the best of them! Clearly, these are things that would be addressed in an ideal world situation. However, sooner or later they will be adequately tackled issues, most likely by the eSports Software Producers.