/UCW/ NEW YORK, NY – ESPN and FOX Sports are broadcasting it, Yahoo has an app for it, and Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of CNN, TNT and TBS, host it. What is it? It is competitive video gaming known as Electronic Sports or eSports, and its popularity worldwide is growing at an alarming rate. SPYR, Inc. (OTCQB: SPYR) is right on time to take advantage of what has become a billion dollar industry with the company’s free-to-play, true cross-platform, real-time Massively Multiplayer Online Game, Pocket Starships.
It is these multiplayer online battle arena-style games (known as “MOBA”) like Call of Duty, League of Legends and Counter-Strike that are anchoring this competitive gaming industry. SPYR recently announced that conceptually Pocket Starships is right at home in the eSports arena, and that the game’s real-time space battles can be perfectly molded into an eSports tournament format. The company is already working on a major update for the cross-platform game that would allow for tournament modes and position the game for entry into the eSports arena.
In its report on the growth of the eSports audience, Newzoo estimates that there are currently about 1.1 billion people around the world who are aware of what eSports is and that number is expected to grow by 400 million people in three short years to more than 1.5 billion people by 2019.
Ralf Reichert, the co-founder and CEO of Electronic Sports League, said of the explosive growth in popularity of eSports, “The most simple way to put eSports is that it has 200 million fans worldwide. This is bigger than the NHL.” In an article written by CNN, it was stated that last year’s League of Legends world championship final attracted 36 million viewers, an audience that sports like the NBA can only dream of.
It was Amazon’s purchase of Twitch in 2014 for almost $1 billion that really catapulted the popularity of eSports and turned competitive gaming into a spectator sport. “Twitch is a game-changer in that it represents basically the first global cable channel for eSports,” according to Marcus Graham, director of programming for Twitch. When fans of eSports aren’t watching the competitive matches on Twitch TV or ESPN or FOX Sports, they’re packing sports arenas and watching the battles play out live right in front of them.
Competitive gaming eSports events like the League of Legends World Championships in 2013 sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles and, In 2014, had roughly 27 million streaming views; more than the average viewership of individual games of the World Series and roughly the same as the number of people who tuned in for this year’s NCAA basketball final.
Newzoo said in its report on this burgeoning industry that the explosive growth of eSports awareness is not coincidental. It can mainly be attributed to three things: (1) increased involvement of mainstream media and broadcasters; (2) a huge effort by publishers to build their eSports business; and, (3) explosive growth in leagues and events organized on a global, regional, and particularly, local scale.
Industry sources report that digital gaming in general generated $80 billion in revenues last year, with a projected $104 billion in revenues expected by 2018. Now publishers like SPYR can add additional revenues with entrance into the eSports arena and what is clearly becoming a global phenomenon.
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