AN FRANCISCO — More people watch football on TV than play it. The same may be true for video games one day.
That may sound ludicrous to people who believe that playing a game is
a lot more fun than watching somebody else do it, but that’s the
prediction from a panel of esports advocates in a session at Casual Connect, a large conference on gaming in San Francisco.
Matt Patrick, the president of Theorist and creator of The Game Theorists
channel on YouTube, has more than 45 million viewers a month on his
channels. The size of his audience already sort of proves the point.
Based on a poll he took of viewers, he noted that the Five Nights at
Freddy’s, a horror title set in a Chuck E. Cheese’s-like setting, is a
case where he believes more people are watching funny viral videos about
the game."You are already there, and you should not be scare of this,” Patrick
said. “Look at basketball. Some enjoy watching and engaging as a fan. A
small subset played Five Nights at Freddy’s, but a huge number are
engaging and buying things. They are sharing and talking about it. There
are ways to monetize people who aren’t playing your games.”
“I believe the industry will accelerate in growth because there will
be a lot more viewers than gamers,” said Peter Warman, the chief
executive of market researcher Newzoo and moderator of the panel
Valve’s finals for the Dota 2 International Championships, which
awarded $18 million for its top winners, drew tens of millions of
viewers. But esports do have a long way to go before spectators
obviously outnumber the players. And much of the time, it’s hard for
newcomers to understand what is happening in a fast-paced game at first.
“It happens when games become understandable enough,” said Super Evil
Megacorp chief operating officer Kristian Segerstrale, whose studio
made the Vainglory mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game.
“Everyone has bounced a basketball. If you get to a game that is
understandable after you watch it once, then we will get there. ”
He noted that in the course of a few months, Vainglory’s viewership
on gameplay livestreaming site Twitch tripled in a few months.
“Our dream is to make the world’s first truly mass market esport,” Segerstrale said.