Among the youngs, competitive gaming, often referred to as esports, is growing at a rapid pace. The world’s most popular video game, League of Legends, this week reported the viewership figures for its recent Season 3 finals event that sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles: 32 million tuned in around the world, with peak concurrents spiking as high as 8.5 million.
For comparison, League of Legend’s Season 2 finals – also taking place in Los Angeles – last October saw 8.2 million viewers, and 1.1 million peak concurrents. So, the audience for League grew more than a touch in the yearlong period between the two events.
Why does this matter? Becuase esports, and League especially, perhaps, are changing media consumption habits for an audience that skews young, and male, a target group that advertisers covet. Also, as the world turns its attention to the new Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles, it’s important to keep in mind how popular PC gaming remains.
League of Legends is a team-based game pitting five players against another five, each playing a unique champion out of a roster of more than 100. Teams work in concert to destroy their opponents’ base through the use of neutral monsters, team fights, and item purchases employing won gold from gameplay. It’s chaotic, colorful, fun, and exceptionally hard.
Fueling the rise of esports is more than television deals in Asia. Instead, livestreaming company Twitch has enabled – though bumps remain – games of all sorts to be played for audiences that can span the globe. It’s not by accident that both Sony and Microsoft worked to incorporate the technology into their new consoles.
The question that the above sums to is simple: How large can League grow in its 2014 season?
Top Image Credit: LoLEsports