The Next Frontier of eSports

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Over the last few years, eSports has taken off like no one could have ever imagined. Though previously seen as not much more than a hobby or sideshow at best, its popularity has soared. Events frequently sell tens of thousands of tickets in big stadiums as well as attracting millions of viewers online and on TV. One of the easiest ways to track just how big it has become is by looking at the sums of money now available for the participants of some of the biggest events. 

The Fortnite World Cup in 2019 had a prize pool of $30 million, as well as being hosted at the famous Arthur Ashe Stadium with an attendance of over 23,000. Sports betting took note of its popularity and you can now wager on some of the biggest eSports events in the world through their apps, websites and in-store. 


One thing that has helped eSports grow and will continue to help it grow is the developing technology in the field. We have come a long way since the days of pong and arcade gaming and the rapid improvement we see in our games every year allow the industry to grow even more. Revenue in the Video Games market is projected to reach US$384.90bn in 2023.

One of the biggest developments in the world of gaming over the last few years is the implementation of virtual reality in video games. It is still a developing technology but even in its infancy it is still incredibly popular. This is where the next generation of eSports are likely to come from and we have already seen this to some end.

If you are not familiar with virtual reality gaming, it is the application of a three-dimensional (3D) artificial environment to computer games. This is typically played with a headset in which you can see the VR environment and two controllers in each hand. 

Although VR has been around for a decent amount of time now, the eSports scene has been slow to introduce it. This is likely because there was somewhat of an extended teething period for the technology and in turn, they were hesitant to implement a relatively untested tech with so much money on the line. However, we are now starting to see it a lot more often. In fact we are now seeing entire VR eSports leagues which some researchers have claimed is even more entertaining than typical eSports competitions.

The Future

Investment in VR has also exploded in recent years, and we are seeing huge companies slap their name on the tech. The likes of Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Universal are all working with virtual reality technology to enter into various different markets. The biggest investor for the eSports market right now is likely Meta/Oculus. Facebook purchased the gaming company Oculus VR in 2014 for $2 billion. 

Since rebranding to Meta, they have invested heavily into the development of the Quest 2, and it is now the most widely used VR headset in the world. This is partly down to its affordability with a headset available for as little as $299 which, when compared to other games consoles, is very light on the pocket.

However, it looks as if Apple are going to make an attempt at rivalling the Quest 2 in the very near future. The Apple Vision Pro has been in development for more than a decade and is their first entrance into a new product category since 2015. Introduced at WWDC 2023 in June, it is set for release in the first quarter of 2024 and comes with some great features including:

  • 4K micro OLED displays with 23 million pixels combined
  • Eye and gesture tracking for navigation and control
  • More than a dozen cameras
  • 3D photo and video capture
  • Built-in spatial audio
  • Optic ID iris scanning
  • visionOS operating system
  • External battery w/ 2hr battery life

Where it differs from the Quest 2 is its incorporation of Augmented reality which is overlaid on the environment around you. This makes it a ‘mixed reality’ headset as they also offer immersive virtual reality as the Quest does. It would be surprising if we did not see Apple push the Vision Pro to the eSports community in their marketing and we could soon see this become part of the scene as we do the Quest.

The world of eSports is still relatively new but even in its infancy it is still worth billions. What is so impressive is that we have not even seen it in its final form and the incorporation of VR is still only being slowly introduced. It’s popularity among casual gamers means it must only be a matter of time until we see it become part and parcel of the eSports scene.

Also Read: How Esports Has Massively Impacted the Gaming Industry



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