Thanks to streaming services like Twitch, the popularity of eSports has already skyrocketed in recent years, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer expects it to go even higher in the future. Speaking recently at the competitive Halo World Championship, Spencer said he fully expects eSports to reach a peak in popularity that matches that of traditional sports.
I think for the industry, eSports is going to be as big as regular sports. You look at the number of people who play games, you look at the different platforms people are playing on, you look at the money that’s pouring in, the broadcasts.
Spencer’s not wrong. The cash pot for the winners of tournaments held for the likes of League Of Legends, the Street Fighter series and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – while not on the same level as, say, Football – are still increasing on a yearly basis. Spencer believes the popularity of eSports will continue to rise due to how accessible video games are.
It’s so accessible–anybody can play a game. I think there’s no cap to what eSports can become. Unlike any other sport, you just sit down, grab a controller, and start playing games and build your skills.
The 2016 Halo World Championship concluded last weekend, with the winners of the competition walking away with a cheque for a cool $1 million. It’s a pretty clear indication that publishers and developers are keen to get behind the idea of video games being considered a sport by backing it up with considerable financial clout.