Taking eSports to the next level with data analytics

Erich Gerber, SVP EMEA & APJ, TIBCO Software
Erich Gerber, SVP EMEA & APJ, TIBCO Software

The eSports sector is quickly becoming hugely popular all over the world, in the Asia Pacific region especially. The Southeast Asia market's revenue alone was expected to grow 13.9 percent year-over-year in 2019. Globally, the mobile games market generated revenues of $77.2 billion in 2020, representing a healthy year-on-year growth of 13.3 percent. Meanwhile, the global lockdowns have led to consumers engaging with mobile gaming more than ever increasing the number of smartphone users and presenting a new pool of players and payers for the years to come. Additionally, with the introduction of 5G across the region, the multi-player online gaming sector stands to benefit from new investments by live-streaming platforms and gaming companies that are expected to push eSports into the mainstream.

 

Across the world, the eSports community is developing rapidly, with the audience watching games expected to reach 645 million people in 2022, from 454 million in 2019. The Asia Pacific region accounted for 57 percent of the frequent viewer audience. These viewers are often players themselves who cultivate great influence in specific games on platforms such as Twitch. By 2023, it is estimated that there will be 320 million gamers in Southeast Asia and Chinese Taipei, according to Niko Partners. Tournaments have also been gaining larger crowds since the region held its first tournament in 2016. In 2019, the League of Legends World Championship was the most popular eSports tournament, with a total of 137 million hours watched.

 

For eSports to continue to flourish in Southeast Asia's distinct markets, it is incredibly important for brands to understand the gaming community's motivations including why, what, and how much they play. This knowledge is vital to refining how the gaming community is marketed to as competition heats up in the region. Gaming data is invaluable for improving the player and audience experiences, and developing innovations quickly based on their input and behaviour. As investment in the sector, and overall interest in gaming and tournaments grow, how can the eSports industry leverage, and improve, data analytics capabilities to enhance community experiences?

 

Connecting eSports data

 

The eSports industry has developed into a serious world where milliseconds make a difference. In an almost purely digital ecosystem, the eSports community has produced vast amounts of data that teams and other parties use to discover valuable insights about fans, transactions, and third-party partners. Escalating audience numbers and prize money from tournaments, as well as publicity for the industry, have simultaneously created a need for analytics companies to build and outfit teams and gaming industry players with data software. From a player performance perspective alone, teams analyse spatial movement and player reactions within games and possible actions. They must also manage game currency and resources, as well as patch changes and regular game updates.

 

Capturing, analysing, and sharing these vast data points is no easy feat, and requires the latest technology to help data scientists mine the valuable data that will help players, teams and third parties compete – and win. This ecosystem of stakeholders is highly dependent on the game publisher's data. Participants, viewership numbers, and game results are also important data points being accessed and analysed during tournaments by third parties seeking to enhance fan experiences and increase revenues. In fact, APIs enable many of the technologies supporting eSports and modern sports, creating the hands-on experiences we enjoy today.

 

As a result, game publishers and industry players will need to use management platforms to create products and distribute data that is consumable by the entire community. These cloud-native API management platforms enable third-party apps, mobile apps, and connected devices to interact with data outside the firewall, making the data sharing process simple, fast, and safe. Data providers can use a portal to handle traffic and make data more consumable for their stakeholders. It is also a great way for game developers and other stakeholders to stay connected with their communities and gain insights into their needs (e.g. designing new games, promoting games or brands, improving experiences, and betting). This increase in the speed, security, streaming, and reliability of eSports data will allow the industry to fuel future innovative gaming developments, and revenue growth for the industry.

 

Strong API management and data analytics capabilities will be critical to the future of eSports in the region to ensure the accuracy, consistency and relevance of live and historical data. With quick, secure access to relevant data, stakeholders in the eSports community can obtain the insights needed to improve player performance, enhance gaming experiences and continue eSports' move to the mainstream.