Report: eSports predicted to reach 6.6 billion viewing hours by 2018

Dota 2 International 2014

The hours we watch competitive video games footage each year is on the rise

A new report from IHS Technology highlights consistent growth in eSports viewership with figures in 2013 almost double that of 2012. In 2014 it’s predicted that the hours we spend watching videos of  gaming competitions will rise to over 3.5 billion from 2.4 billion last year. By 2018 it’s expected a massive 6.6 billion hours of eSports will be watched generating.$300 million in online advertising revenue.

According to Dan Cryan, senior director for digital media research at IHS,“Several factors are contributing to the surge in eSports viewing. These include the fact that key game titles have reached maturity and game publishers are taking a major role in promoting eSports competitions. Furthermore, eSports viewing has been boosted by the emergence of online video platforms that are capable of handling large-scale live audiences.”

The main three games taking focus in the current eSports world are Riot’s League of Legends, Valve’s DOTA 2 and Blizzard’s Starcraft 2 but the growing popularity is leading other games makers to divert funds into bringing eSports competitions to their games. Wargaming.Net for example have confirmed they would be spending $10 million on World of Tanks eSports in 2014.

With larger and larger prize pots up for grabs and better tech in use to deliver competitive game footage online the burgeoning numbers of eSports fans and gamers are starting to raise the profile of eSports into the mainstream from its previous niche standings. Earlier on this year we heard that competitive Call of Duty games are set to be included in the X games and with the current DOTA 2 crowd-sourced prize pool for their international competition approaching $8.5 million there's clear indication of eSports’ popularity.

It’s no surprise Youtube want to get in on the action. Last month we heard the leading eSports streaming site Twitch was being bought by the Google owned video sharing site. With Twitch already striking deals with EA, SoE and Activision we’re bound to see a flood of new eSports games coming along soon.

If you’re into your eSports gaming what games would you like to see get new eSports competitions? Is it all about MOBAs?

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