Electronic Sports (Esport) – the industry which has long been operating as a niche segment of the media and entertainment landscape is growing in popularity and grabbing the immense attention of gamers and audience across the world. With a rising number of events and tournaments being organized in several countries worldwide, esports has become competitive and the fastest-growing segment of the global gaming industry. From technology giants to largest gaming companies across the world, everyone is jumping into esports to reap the benefits of the booming market, below are the top 10 esports companies leading the market.
Global Esports Market Analysis
Esports has been attracting massive followings over the last few years, with a large number of participants and millions of viewers for online games like League of Legends, Blizzard’s Starcraft II, Riot Games’, and many more. According to industry experts, the growing esports market is estimated to be worth more than US$1.7 billion by 2022. The market research report compiled by analysts at Technavio mentions that the Americas contributes the largest share of the esports market owing to the large-scale participation on e-sports and the high spending power of the population.
For more insights on the latest global esports market size, top esports companies, and future trends in the esports market, please check Technavio’s Global Esports Market Report 2017-2021, or download your Global Esports Market Report Sample for FREE!
Top 10 Esports Companies in the World in 2018
Activision Blizzard has been at the top when it comes to developing cutting-edge video games including console and handheld games and is most-recognized for world-leading franchises including Call of Duty from Activision and World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment. The company is betting big on e-sports over the last few years and capitalizing the staggering growth of the esports industry through its Overwatch esports league. Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues collaborated with 12 team owners for the Overwatch league and signed media rights agreements with Disney and Amazon for streaming and broadcasting. Their first league got immense traction from the audience and the company is looking to expand its esports business by launching more and more leagues in the future.
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Epic Games, the American video game company has long been the popular gaming brand with offerings including some of the most-played games such as Gears of War, Unreal, Fortnite, BattleBreakers, SPYJiNX, Paragon, Robocall, and Infinity Blade series of games. The company has been aggressively investing in the esports landscape throughout this year to get its foothold strong in the industry with its burgeoning event Fortnite; the Battle Royale. The company recently committed to contributing $100 million into Fortnite tournament prize pools and announced its official esports tournaments: the Fortnite Pro-Am. Epic games also likely to launch a platform for allowing players to practice the tournament conditions before the event. The company acquired two companies this year including Kamu and Cloudgine.
After the massive success of its innovative platform, the Switch, the Japanese gaming juggernaut Nintendo aims to offer groundbreaking games and gaming experience to players across the world. The company has a solid track record of innovations in the gaming industry and the Nintendo Switch is set to be a game-changer for the company’s esports business. Following its passion toward esports, Nintendo launched the much-awaited Super Smash Bros at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles this year. Super Smash Bros is likely to be one of the major boosters for Nintendo to strongly penetrate the global esports market. Nintendo acquired the largest console distributer Jesnet in 2016, making it one of the world’s largest esports companies.
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Riot Games is the developer of the most popular online game League of Legends. The debut game of Riot Games was launched in 2009 and has been growing ever since in terms of both revenues and users. The game is played by more than 100 million players, making it the most played video game across the world. After realizing the growing demand for the esports across the world, Riot Games introduced the League of Legends World Championship Series which has helped them mark strong position in the global esports industry. Riot Games was acquired by Tencent Holdings in 2015 for $400 million. Riot Games acquired Radiant Entertainment, a PC games maker in 2016.
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Valve is one of the leading American esports companies, and digital distribution companies that is most recognized for its groundbreaking software distribution platform Steam, and popular games including Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, Day of Defeat, Counter-Strike, the Half-life, Dota 2, and Portal game. Valve established its name in the e-sports ecosystem with three of its most popular titles including Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Team Fortress. Over the years, the company’s actions and decisions have had a strong influence on the evolution of the e-sports industry and are poised to impact the market in the future. Valve organizes yearly Dota 2 tournament; The International which has become one of the largest e-sports tournaments in the world since its establishment in 2011.
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Wargaming started its journey in the online gaming market by developing real-time strategy and turn-based strategy games such as Operation Bagration, Order of War and Massive Assault respectively. Subsequently, the company moved to free-to-play action games with World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes, that gained immense traction in the massively multiplayer online (MMO) market. In 2013, the company announced its first esports league; the Wargaming.net league. Its World of Tanks Tournament is one of the most popular events in the esports industry. As the company continues to enhance its approach, Wargaming will undoubtedly to become one of the top esports companies in the global market.
The California-based video games giant, Electronic Arts (EA) has been putting in all the efforts over the last few years to utilize the opportunities offered by the recent boom in the esports industry. Consequently, the company announced a new section Competitive Gaming Division in 2015, which focused on organizing esports events and competitions on EA’s largest franchises such as Battlefield, FIFA, Madden NFL, and more. Although it has been the biggest video game company in the world, EA sports haven’t been able to beat the competition such as Dota 2, League of Legends in the esports landscape. However, EA sports is consistently making efforts to turn FIFA into a major esports title by investing more in their esports infrastructure. The recent launch of FIFA 18 Global Series is a testament for this.
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Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, Hi-Rez Solutions is one of the fastest-growing video game developers that offers iconic games like Global Agenda, Realm Royale, Tribes Universe, Tribes Ascend, Smite, Paladins, and Jetpack Fighter. The independent game developer recently launched a new company for esports productions; Skillshot Media that operates various esports leagues for both Paladins, Smite, along with games from other publishers. Smite and Paladins have been successful in registering more than 45 million player community with over one million video views.
With its studios spread across multiple locations, Microsoft Studios is the leader when it comes to creating and publishing immersive, and interactive games for the Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows Store, Windows phone platforms, and Steam. Microsoft Game Studios has set-up and acquired a large number of studios including Carbonated Games, Ensemble, Bungie, Wingnut Interactive, Lionhead, 343 Industries, Twisted Pixel Games, Black Tusk Studios, Microsoft Game Studios Vancouver, Turn 10, and FASA Interactive. During the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018, the company also announced the acquisition of Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, and Ninja Theory.
Gfinity is one of the world’s leading esports companies and top gaming solutions providers that offers a cutting-edge platform to sports right holders, game publishers, media companies and commercial partners. The platform helps gamers and viewers to play electronic games, compete and view esports tournaments online. Based in London, UK, the esports company organized a range of events last year including Call of Duty League, Gears Pro Circuit: Mexico, the EU Halo World Championship, the LATAM Halo World Championship, and Gears Pro Circuit: Paris. Gfinity was chosen by Microsoft to be the tournament operator for Forza Racing Championship 2017.
Esports Market Trends: Future of the Esports Companies
Gone are the days when esports ecosystem lacked the adequate infrastructure and set up. Today, the esports market is witnessing an immense growth in investments for e-sports infrastructure. Consequently, a massive number of esports arenas are being established in several countries and it is expected that the number will increase more in the upcoming years. The huge investments in e-sports infrastructure are being witnessed more in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Further, the increasing penetration of mobile devices is boosting the mobile version of e-games and mobile apps like YouTube, Twitch, and Mob-Crush are spurring the popularity of e-sports.