Esports is a relatively young and quickly evolving landscape, but industry trends give hints as to how the scene might develop over the next 5 years, writes Jake Nordland…

In 1972, Stanford University played host to what is now considered to be the first ever esports event. The competition, for the videogame Spacewar!, awarded a year’s subscription to Rolling Stone magazine – and free beer.

Since then, though, esports has graduated from beers to billions. Today, the global esports industry is worth around $1bn and top tournaments award multi millions, not magazines.

Even 5 years ago, few would have predicted that the League of Legends World Championship would match the viewership figures of the Super Bowl. So what will esports look like 5 years from today?

The global esports industry is slated to continue growing rapidly over the next 5 years. Analyst Newzoo estimates esports revenues will reach around $1.6bn by 2023, maintaining a 15% annual growth rate.

The UK boasts an almost 8% share of this ballooning global market, according to an esports report commissioned by Ukie, and is welcoming increasing recognition as a valuable part of the UK’s fast-growing digital and creative industries sector.

As expected, future growth will continue to be driven by sponsorship revenue, Newzoo forecasts.

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