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ESports 2017: Doubled the Revenue Only in 2 Years, Over Half of The Enthusiasts are Asians

By Febrianto Nur Anwari

A recent report from Newzoo also states that the revenue will reach more than US$1.5 billion in 2020. Will mobile eSports continue to dominate the market?


Newzoo has released its annual report for eSports industry in 2017. Surprisingly, eSports 2017 scene has grown significantly and nearly doubled the revenue in only 2 years.

The eSports scene has grown significantly in the recent years. According to the annual report that was released by Newzoo, in only 2 years since 2015, the revenue increased by 102%, reaching US$655 million in 2017. This growth mostly was driven by the growth of mobile eSports, which is very popular, specifically for Asian audiences.

This number is also in line with the audience’s increase. Although the increase isn’t as big as the revenue increase, in 2017 there were more than 194 million audiences who enjoyed the eSports tournament. Around 192 million of them are the enthusiasts, leaving only 3 million audiences to watch occasionally for the finals or the world-class tournament such as ESL or The International.

state of esports 2017 newzoo

The interesting thing is, not all of the enthusiasts were playing the game itself. Newzoo also found an interesting fact. That is more than half of the Asian audiences of Vainglory eSports tournament were not actually playing the game. They simply enjoyed the content and treated it like watching other traditional sports.

Asia-Pacific also dominates the eSports enthusiasts in 2017. Newzoo states that 51% of eSports enthusiasts in the world were from Asia-Pacific, and will rise to 53% by the end of 2018. This number is more than EU (18%, no significant increase by the end of 2018) and North America (13%, increase to 14% by the end of 2018 ).

For the revenue, more than half of the revenue comes from China and North America combined with US$344 million.

Will reach US$ 1,65 billion in 2020

state of esports 2017 newzoo

For mobile eSports, Clash Royale and Vainglory are the top two titles which contributed more than 1,6 million viewership hours in the biggest game live streaming platform, Twitch. Meanwhile, in Asia, surprisingly the most casual title, Battle of Balls attracted the most audiences to come to the events. In 2017, The Battle of Balls Professional League (BPL) attracted more than 13,000 audiences to come to the match venue, and more than 3,6 million viewers watched it through the various streaming platforms in China.

state of esports 2017 newzoo

In 2018, Newzoo predicts that the audience of eSports will see 13.8% Year on Year (YoY) growth from 2017, making it reach around 215 million. In terms of total revenue, we will also see 38.2% YoY growth to reach around US$906 million.

state of esports 2017 newzoo

With this condition, Newzoo also predicts that the revenue will increase around 150% in the next two years, make it around US$ 1,65 billion globally in 2020. Most of them will still come from mobile, which is now continue to grow in terms of the users. And also, we can see the fact that Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) is the most popular genre in mobile eSports with the rise of Vainglory in US and Honor of Kings (or Arena of Valor) in China.

“As a consumer phenomenon, eSports continues to grow its huge base of passionate fans across the globe,” said Peter Warman, CEO of Newzoo. “As a business, esports is now entering a new and critical phase towards maturity. Big investments have been made, new league structures have been launched, sponsorship budgets have moved from experimental to continuous, and international media rights trade is starting to heat up,” he continues.

MOBA Is the Most Watched eSport Content on Twitch

Massive Online Battle Arena or MOBA is continuing to grow popularity. Game streaming website Twitch is one of the primary platforms for people to watch. It's also surprising that MOBA is the most watched eSport content on Twitch. 

“At the same time, player salaries have soared and the esports ecosystem and viewership hours are still very much rely on a select number of globally operating teams and game franchises. Profitability and return on investment are, for many organizations at the heart of the esports economy, a challenge,” he added.

Top image source: RedBull. Edited by Devi

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About Writer


Febrianto is the Senior Editor of Duniaku.net and the Lead Editor of Gameprime.org. He started his career in game industry as a game journalist since 2008, and was one of the initial members of Duniaku.net since 2011. His biggest interest is local game developer scene. Currently, his mission is to spread the news about Indonesia’s game industry to both local and international game and creative industry’s enthusiast.