Now that you've been well and truly schooled on the games that are fuelling the esports craze, its time to learn the intricacies of the scene. The first thing you'll need to know is how spectators are consuming esports content. This information is crucial for advertising opportunities and knowing how to market a specific gaming brand.
Twitch is without a doubt the biggest streaming service in the world, offering a completely open-source platform for anyone to share their games with the world from the top esports teams to a drunken group of friends playing Rock Band.
The strengths of Twitch lie in its easy-to-navigate UI, which positions the top watched games at the forefront of the user experience. Swing on by Twitch's homepage today and you'll quickly see DOTA, Overwatch, League of Legends and many other top esports titles, along with hot titles like Fortnite and Minecraft.
Twitch's dominance of the game streaming market has been bolstered by Amazon's smart integration of game-like mechanics to continue to hook players into its ecosystem. by awarding custom emotes (Twitch's version of emojis) to use in the chat as well as exclusive content and in-game bonuses to players of certain games like Fortnite. Subscribers to Amazon Prime can also reap the benefits with Twitch Prime, a service that adds value to the experience with more exclusive extras.
Now, Twitch has numerous partnerships with esports leagues, teams and platform holders, making their dominance of the market hard to challenge.
That hasn't stopped other firms poking their heads into the scene though. YouTube also offers a direct streaming service, with many game streams appearing on both platforms. The benefit of this is that more casual watchers can stumble across the content without actively seeking it out. Of course, you can always catch up on missed matches and events on YouTube, which has a higher userbase than Twitch.
Advertising opportunities are available across all of these platforms, with Twitch being a valuable brand unto itself.
Of course, there's no experience like seeing a match live. I South Korea, you can get a glimpse of what the esports scene of tomorrow may look like, with esports players boasting a rep just as strong as any mainstream sports star. The League of Legends World Championships attracted thousands of fans to a massive stadium which saw state of the art display technology broadcast the final matches and even squeezed in a performance by middling pop-rock group Imagine Dragons.
On western shores, the hype has not quite reached these levels, however, audiences are growing by the day. London's Olympic arena now plays hosts to esports events, while the Gfinity arena is bolstering its offering with high-stakes classes on a weekly basis.