Research: Sports broadcasting losing viewers to eSports

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The popularity of online gaming continues to grow, with gamers around the world playing more than seven hours each week, an increase of nearly 20 per cent in the last year. Young adults are leading the online gaming charge, with gamers age 26 to 35 playing for eight hours, 13 minutes each week, a 25 per cent increase from last year. That’s according to the latest State of Online Gaming research report on worldwide consumers’ gaming behaviours and expectations from Limelight Networks, a provider of edge cloud services.

Online gaming is changing how people live their lives, with many prioritising playing online games over common daily activities. One in ten UK gamers say they have missed work to play video games and a fifth (21 per cent) have avoided friends or not gone on a date to keep playing.  More than a half (56 per cent) of UK gamers report they have lost sleep, while one in five (22 per cent) haven’t showered and over a third (36 per cent) have missed meals. There is an effect on work as well, with more than a third of UK gamers (34 per cent) playing at work at least once a month, including eight per cent who play daily. However, the British passion for video game playing is surpassed by Italian gamers who at 41 per cent are the most likely to skip seeing friends or going on a date to finish a game.

When gamers aren’t playing themselves, many are watching other people play online. Nearly 50 per cent of UK gamers watch other gamers play online each week. Globally, one in ten gamers watch more than seven hours of online gaming each week. For younger gamers, watching others play online is more popular than watching traditional sports on television. In fact, gamers age 18 to 25 spend nearly four hours each week watching online video gaming, 77 per cent more time than they spend watching traditional broadcast sports.

As gamers play and watch more online gaming content, they increasingly want to become professional players. In fact, 39 per cent of UK gamers would quit their jobs to go pro if they could support themselves as professional gamers. Younger male gamers (age 18 to 35) are the most interested in eSports careers, with more than half (56 per cent) noting they want to become professionals.

Other insights from the report include:

  • Mobile continues to drive appetite for casual gaming. Mobile gaming is popular with “casual gamers,” who make up more than half (57 per cent) of the gaming market. Casual Single-Player games such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds are the most-preferred type of gaming content globally. However, younger gamers (age 18 to 25) prefer First-Person Shooter and Battle Royal games such as Fortnite.
  • Gamers lack patience with downloads. Globally, 85 per cent of gamers find the process of downloading video games frustrating. Slow downloads are the biggest pain point for 34 per cent of worldwide gamers and frustrations are highest in the UK and US. (both 39 per cent).
  • Security breaches threaten online gaming brands. When it comes to security, 44 per cent of UK gamers say they would not continue to use a gaming platform that previously suffered a breach. Security concerns are highest in Germany (62 per cent), Japan (63 per cent) and South Korea (66 per cent).

“The growth in online gaming—both in playing time as well as in viewership—has raised expectations for fast online performance,” said Michael Milligan, Senior Director at Limelight Networks. “Whether it’s downloading game updates, joining your squad online to take on the competition, or learning new techniques from your favourite live streamer, gamers around the world won’t tolerate latency and download disruptions that slow them down.”

The State of Online Gaming report is based on responses from 4,500 consumers in France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States age 18 and older who play video games at least once a week.

 


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