The ESports industry went into 2020 with extremely high expectations after the development of it within 2019 and looked like it was heading for a long term growth. But later down the timeline a virus came a long and disrupted this entire process.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has affect almost, if not, every industry and is clear to believe that esports would be one affected by it the most, but how true is this? In this article, we are going to look at how esports has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and how it is attempted to control it.
ESports Vs COVID-19
As Coronavirus took control of most countries by forcing them into nationwide lockdowns, it caused many issues for competing, thus was moved to online. This, like sports, is a huge and significant difference compared to in person competition.
The Change In-Game
Just like traditional sport, the lack of crowd extremely kills the entertainment value, it lacks that energy that once made the sport what it was. Being in that environment truly impacts the entertainment value, getting you excited for that next big matchup between the two titans, but matchups like these don’t have that energy around them anymore.
Furthermore, Esports played online actually affects the competition directly itself with ‘latency’. Games where every millisecond counts like CS:GO, Valorant and even Call Of Duty, have a big impact in affecting the outcome of the game.
Adding to this has to be the casters. Casters are one of the top reasons why esports does so well with their booming voice echoing throughout that crowd, effectively communicating that energy. However, with it being online the audio quality had to diminish with it, making some – an example would be ‘machine’ from the CS:GO casting desks – take a break to achieve their motivation back, effectively starting a chain reaction amongst other casters.
To make matters worse, events that were allowed to be hosted in person, the COVID-19 social distancing measures meant that not as many people could be in the same place at once.
An example of how this made a difference would be ESL’s Extreme Masters World Championship tournament in Poland, Katowice. It was altered so much after this event that the Polish government ordered ESL to not allow any audience members within the stadium at all, right before the event was scheduled to start.
The Effect On Brands & Businesses
Since the outbreak, many have focused on repairing the industry revenues and some, like ESL and Dreamhack, merged brands behind the scenes. This is a significant example of how bad the esports revenue tanked and it was all done to reduce operation costs.
Not just that, but similar companies within the Overwatch League (Toronto Defiant and OverActive Media) had to release staff to help reduce salary costs by up to 30%. Some took it worse than others and Team Reciprocity came to the conclusion to release all of their staff.
The industry itself has to completely change its infrastructure as it transitioned online, which you would believe would be simple to move everything online. You see, it was a challenge for all the companies and teams involved in this situation because of the adjustment of how things were monetized, more particularly in terms of sponsorships.
Written By Max Lang-Orsini