Esports and Industry 4.0
The coming of the fourth industrial revolution with the integration of elevated technologies and with Artificial and Virtual Intelligence as their protagonist will affect everyone’s lives. The direct impact in the industry of esports will be both a challenge and an opportunity. The role of education will be vital and ideally will be much different from what it is now.
Let’s acquaint ourselves with some interesting points to consider:
- Revenue: Granted, the revenue of esports as a business is considerable and it is currently trending in such a pace that will probably take some more traditional ecosystems and countries by the storm. Currently, this is more than three billion US Dollars, not taking into account (although we should) the income of the esports product (that is the game itself) vendors. There is an economy building that the next stage of evolution will affect the trends as more and more will strive to get a piece of the market.
- Perception: The public perception of esports will shift from “kids playing computer games for money” to a “thriving ecosystem that provides competitive sports with entertainment”. It is already happening, in most cases with success. There are still plenty of societies that have not perceived the potential of esports in its business development context with devastating results.
- Business Management models: The current state of affairs in the sector is indeed quite segmented as there is still a lot of ground to cover in order to provide formality and to solidify the business concept of what an esports organization must and should be. The current model lies mostly in the perception of the startup scene and although this is neat and trendy, for the purpose of what an esports organization can be, it is potentially counter-productive.
- Technology: The esports products themselves are also following a learning curve and they are significantly affected by the marketing and community demands. The latest trend, for example is the battle-royale concept of games such as PUBG and FORTINTE among others; on the other hand the ‘traditional’ esports products such as League of Legends and Overwatch are also maturing in order to maintain persistence. We should expect that these games are always affected by their esports value and the ecosystem they build.
- Market: The market trends will affect the vendor’s decision quite drastically. This is happening currently and it is expected to follow through exactly as it already the case with physical sports such as football.
The next industrial age may finds us operating at the so called “too late zone”. And this may also be true for those that are not subject to change their own perception about esports. Education will definitely change towards different models and it appears that “traditional” and formative professions (Law, Medicine and Engineering, for instance) will require a degree title and the derivatives of those or specialized placements will require skill recognition. To this extend esports will also evolve as new schools of thought will join the venture. This is one of the reasons that education can adopt the group activities, training and experience gained within the context of an esports venture. Leaving students to play games is fun, perhaps popular and pleasing but does not produce content. Instead, a project-apprentice model can offer much in the way of students needing a different way of learning that at least takes advantage of the esports phenomenon not just to be the next best player, but evolve to a journalist, a programmer, a networking specialist, a business manager among other paths.
This is how the mentalities can change, as the business mindset into getting some funds and hosting events to get selfies, some tickets and publicity, will come to an abrupt end. Esports also need solid management, coordination and planning, ultimately necessitating a traditional rather than a startup business attitude; you need to contribute to and not ‘disrupt’ the market. Be ready to macro and micro manage regardless of your level and statue within the esports organization as you need to set an example. Set goals and actually achieve them.
Industry 4.0 will also challenge corporations and individuals alike into being flexible and smart about management and dealing with people. This will also become a factor personalities and perception along with attitude will matter as much as their skillset. The same will be true for principles that will be a vital part of the business making of the future. Thus, complementing to the skillset the understanding of the principles behind the subject will be the substrate that an individual can build on.
Last, but not least, the contribution of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be a tremendous factor to consider in the market of esports. Although the nature of competitive gaming is human against human there will be a fair amount of uses of artificial intelligence to add up to the total user experience and offer also much in the way the game interacts with the players and itself.