1 – Diversity of Game Genres
The overwhelming majority of esports titles are PC games that fall under a couple of major genres, with MOBAs like League of Legends, Smite, Heroes of the Storm, and DotA2 being a number of the foremost popular in terms of participation. However, with their complex gameplay, MOBA games are often difficult for viewers who don’t play them to know and for gamers to master. Would more accessible game genres and segments gain a wider audience and player base?
2 – Geographic Expansion of Leagues
For esports leagues to tap into bigger advertising budgets, they have to exist on national, regional, and global levels as traditional sports do. Few advertisers have a big global advertising or sponsoring budget, as most marketing money is spent on an area level. Currently, only League of Legends features a structure that resembles this hierarchy, with regional league structures in North-America, Europe, South-East Asia, Oceania, and Latin America, and country-based league structures in China, South-Korea, and Turkey.
3 – Regulation of Competitions
Esports has grown beyond the tiny grassroots venues where small groups of gamers were competing. More and more companies are seeing the potential to form money in esports. Last, FanDuel purchased the daily-fantasy startup AlphaDraft, each day after competitor DraftKings announced it had been expanding into esports with daily fantasy games for League of Legends. With multimillion-dollar prize pools now at stake, and increasing amounts of cash being back the result of those games, new rules and regulations are needed to combat cheating and match-fixing.
One of the larger regulation voids in esports is that the current structure around content rights. As of now, it’s uncertain who owns the rights to esports content. Games played during events are owned by publishers or the event organizers, while videos made by fans and streams that contain game content are owned by the fans and streamers themselves. Thus far, content rights haven’t really been attention to publishers, as fan-generated content has served as free advertising for his or her games. As direct esports revenues grow, this might change.
5 – Alignment of Digital & Traditional Media
While competitive gaming would surely enjoy broadcaster advertising and its budgets, esports and traditional media haven’t yet aligned. Will the all-digital esports world adapt to the normal media ecosystem or vice versa? Turner Broadcasting and WME/IMG just announced that they’re going to form a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league which will be aired on TBS on Friday nights for 20 weeks in 2016. TBS isn’t the primary cable network to point out interest in esports. ESPN has been increasingly recognizing the legitimacy of competitive gaming as a sport, covering more and more esports events, including a collegiate-level Heroes of the Storm competition (“Heroes of the Dorm”), and Valve’s multimillion-dollar DotA2 tournament “The International”.