Esport : a booming sector with big challenges

Paul Louault, Maxime Moulin

Esport : a booming sector with big challenges

Esport : a booming sector with big challenges

Paul Louault, Maxime Moulin
24 décembre 2020

Esport existed since more than 20 years and it is growing day by day all over the world. This blog will allow you to browse this particular area by grasping all of its new stakes. The following articles are structured around specific aspects of esport's field in order to summarize the principal issues. Enjoy !

Esport, a very special economic world

In sports, since few years, a new discipline appears : Esport.
This apparition create a huge economic world for specific companies.

The development of esport it’s a important step in his legitimization. But now, the electronic sports became an emergent economic sector. With more of 120 billions dollars per year, the world of video games has an important place in the economy. These numbers are principaly represents by a selling of video games.

A specific world

But for me, this economy is largest. If I buy videos games, I seen many links with money in this world. For example, the brands appears in different ways. We can talk about streaming. Many players of videos games share their screen when they play and they are talking with their community live. For a lot of people, it’s just a pleasure to share that. For others it’s a job because they are steamers or professional players. And for these people, their activity makes them money.

Omnipresence of announcers

For this reason, the professional players and steamers are linked to brands. I will take the example of Gotaga. The "French Monster" is an ex world champion in Call Of Duty. Now he is focused on stream and he become the biggest one in France.  We will talk about his career of streamer in the next paragraph. During his life of pro-player, Gotaga has been supported by brands and his Esport Club (Team Vitality). He is one of the only person sponsorised by RedBull. The support is financial principally, because Gotaga and the others Internet celebrities bring many visibility. But many brands sponsor esport player, events or clubs. It’s like a football competition, there are many advertising, rights media and sponsoring.


A marketing strategy

In part, the economic aspect of esport are due to players. But it’s not the only one. The video games developers are one of the biggest role because, without them, this discipline doesn’t exist. They create events that offer visibility. I remember an event created by Fortnite. It’s not a competition but during the first lockdown in France, Fortnite organized a concert with Travis Scott in the game. Concerning the competition, there is many cahsprizes and sponsors. It’s a real discipline like another sport. For me, there are no more différences.


Maxime Moulin

Esport, an economic sector legitimizing itself

More and more people are following esport competitions all around the world. But in many European countries, esport is considered as a recreational for kids. And this wrong image shared by the older generations weight on his economic development. To keep growing, esport need a favourable legislative framework and the investors confidence. That's why esport need to be legitimized.

It is very annoying for all the people working in esport that they always have to remind that esport have to be considered as a sport in its own right. I will tell you why, once and forever. First of all, esport players are real athletes. You just have to stroll on Youtube or the social networks to find videos about the daily lifestyle of a professional player. As any pro athlete, they have long training sessions to work on their play style, their mechanics and their team communication. What most of people don't know, is that the esport players spend most of their time watching the recordings of their recent performances or training sessions. With a coach, they analyse and describe all the different piece to learn from their mistakes. Then, most of the esport players keep playing by their own. By streaming this on Twitch, they can have some income from all the people who are watching.

Esport is a real sport !

Morever, I can talk about the framework of their practice. For all the players in team and the players who joined a professional esport club, players are helped from a staff to become the best players in the world. Behind them, there is a time constituted of a head coach (for the strategic choice), a team manager (team spirit, a particular manager (to manage the contracts), sport coach (to have physical activities everyday), nutritionist (to eat properly) and also sometimes a community manager. Esport players work very hard to become more powerful day by day. And we never heard things about it, but there is a new bad phenomenon in the esport system. For many players from the biggest international competitions, stress and pressure are such that many burnouts. Esport players are very young (16/18 years old) most of the time and it can be very hard to keep up the pace.

Last thing from this part is that esport has the same overall system as traditional sports. The only difference is that esport can be play and followed online. The sector appears like this, but now (without Covid-19), the competitions happened in stadium with an international public came to encourage his favorite players. Most of the competitions are established in seasons. There is also division tournament (European championship, Korean one, American, Canadian...) and Worldcups. There is no TV but all is cast from new technological tools like Twitch. If you like to watch traditional sport competitions, tell yourself that there are as many competitions as there are games. You just have to find your favorite one.

Changing the representations about esport

In France, but also in many European countries, esport suffered from bad representations. For the older people, esport refers to a big boy with no friends, seated at his computer office with packet of crisps and playing day and night. More recently, parents associated esport to the little Kevin, 12 years old, playing Fortnite and buying virtual content without their agreement. As I mentioned before, if it was the case at the esport beginning, today it's obviously false. All the sector is structuring itself since 2016 in France. You want to play more competitively? There are many associations, a national federation (France Esports) and clubs from the amateur to the professionals. For approximatively 5 years, esport concerns the French government which defined ("Loi pour une République numérique" from the 7 of October 2016), a legislative framework for esport competition and the statut of profession esport player. But actually, esport is not recognized as a sport from the state... The recent health context show that many French people are following esport and the legislation have to change quickly to avoid excesses, especially with minors.

To conclude with, I want to remind how much esport is a viable economic sector. In 2019, esport had a turnover estimated around $1,1bn and a global audience of 495 million people all over the world. For the sponsors, esport is a real opportunity, cheaper than traditional sports. "One of the biggest challenges is to bring the biggest brands very present in the sport, whatever it is, by showing them that returns on investment can be better", confided Samy Ouerfelli, director of ESL France (most important brand in esport event). In facts, esport has an international audience very accessible and with an appreciate target from the sponsors : the 15-35 years old. The multimodality of esport and all the virtual content available easily makes it very adaptable for the request of the advertisers. One competition has all the commercial event side, the sponsoring on the social networks, the broadcastings rights and also now the in-game content as we already seen on Overwatch or Call of Duty for example. So please, for 2021, adopt a new look on esport. The world would be better !


Paul Louault

SimRacing : the new esport discipline

What is the simracing ? As you can see, this this term is just referring to a simulation of car’s races. This new discipline is growing very fast in the esport area. It was originally used by video game fans and motor sport enthusiasts. But with the technical progress on the various games, these simulators are being used by real pilots. They use it for fun but also to train on circuits they don't have the opportunity to test in real life. Indeed, it is an expensive sport and real tests are rare. Most of the time, the drivers drive on site, only during the race weekend.

Among these simulations, the Formula 1, IRacing and Asseto Corsa games collect the most players. During the confinement, competitions bringing together real drivers, stars from the cinema or other sports and youtube players have been organised.

Small negative aspects ruining his development

However, some events did not remain on a positive note. The fault lies with certain behaviours. One of these was the collision between Simon Pagenaud, a French Indycar driver and Lando Norris, a British driver currently in Formula 1. After a mistake by the latter, pushing Simon Pagenaud to the fault, the Frenchman made an anti fair-play gesture. A behaviour that resonated in the automobile world.

Another element, more serious this time, an endurance driver who was racing on the line, made racist remarks that earned him an exclusion from his real team. Proof that sim-racing has gone beyond the virtual.

For me this discipline is very funny. We can see many interesting battle. Moreover, I think that we will see many events like this in the future. And once again, esport gets closer than traditional sports in a very professional way. We are not talking about video games for fun, but a real virtual sport for professional athletes.

Maxime Moulin

The danger of the gaming business school

All around the world, esport has been growing for the last ten years. This economic field had a turnover estimated around $1,1bn in 2019, for a global audience of 495 million people. Surfing on the wave of this new business, many gaming schools opened in France. Are they real keys for students or an heartless profit machine?

The Paris Gaming School from Montreuil, the Digital Gaming School from Bordeaux, the Hélios Gaming School (HGS) from Freyming-Merlebach, in Moselle, the Montpellier Talent Players, the Power House Gaming from Mulhouse, and so many others emerged since 2016 with the structuration of the Esport in France. At this time, Thibaut just had his 4 A Levels. With the agreement of his parents, he decided to join the first class of the HGS in 2017. A Good student, he become top of his class. "I wanted to enter in the parent company to become able to live from esport. And that's what happened, because today I'am project manager at Helios Gaming (the event company of the group)". Thibaut is the perfect example of the danger that represents the gaming schools. Here, the best student of the class only managed to get a place in the group of his school. Few calls from his teachers and it was done. But what about the rest of the year group??

An easy target for a very lucrative business

Gaming schools are using a dishonest mechanism to make profit on the back of a fragile audience. Don't forget that their aim are the students, for their first year in higher education. These young people are, most of the time, totally lost. What do they really want to study ? What profession for their futur ? They have many existential questions and it's completely normal ! All they know, is that they have a passion : video games. Sometimes they do pretty good games on Fortnite or Rainbow Six Siege and they follow all the professional competitions on Youtube or Twitch. However, the gaming schools use this situation to make them trust in the dream that one day, they will be a professional esport player. And it's far from safe for the students.

First of all, because these courses cost a lot. In France,  students have to pay around €10,000. The gaming schools justify these hight prices by saying that they provide advanced esport equipment (gaming house, big computers, comfortable gaming armchair...) and very important people from esport (professional players, head-coach, managers...). Many students who have done these courses agree with that. But all the students can't pay this amount. Even more when we know that there is none of these courses recognized by the state. Which means that the Ministry of Higher Education does not yet admit the real added value of the gaming schools.

Esport offers few professional opportunities

The second reason comes from the reality of the esport statement. According to France Esports, around 500 students would leave the gaming schools each year while a maximum of 1,000 people would live actually from e-sport. "In 2018, there were 180 players contracted with structures in France. And all of theme doesn't receive income that allows them to live. There were less than 100 with income above the French minimum wage" , confides Nicolas Besombes, vice-president of France Esports, to the French newspaper Le Monde.

In comparison, in 2018, the French Federation of Football (FFF) specified that from 10% to 20% of the players in training center sign a pro contract. Which means that from the 300 to 400 young players who joined a training formation each year, only 75 access the professional circuit when they leave. These stats show that the dream of the student become rurally true. For example, this year, from the twenty students of the Paris Gaming School, only three of them become cyber-athletes.

To conclude, gaming schools taught courses very appreciated from all the video games addicts. From 10 months to 3 years, the students train themselves on a game to become the best. Even if they will probably never become professional player, there are many others professions around esport (event, commercial, technicians, analysts, casters...) which could be accessible by working from their own. The students who well-known how esport is working will be appreciate as an esport journalists for example.

But most of the time, esport schools represents a real trap for the students who choose to join them. These young people paid a lot to finally get into the workforce without any professional skills. Advice for the parent : try to get informations from guidance counsellors even if, most of the time, they don't know the gaming schools.


Paul Louault

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