Global revenue from e-sports is expected to increase 68% between now and 2023, and companies like furniture maker Ikea, as well as supermarkets Aldi and Lidl want to cash in on this trend.
In 2020, the global e-sports market was valued at around $950m (£681m) and it is estimated to reach almost $1.6bn in 2023.
Crypto trading news website Block-Builders.de said that discounters Aldi and Lidl recently signed several e-sports players while Ikea “recently showed signs of recognising the gaming industry’s potential, with the company announcing the introduction of furniture collections specifically for gamers.”
E-sports is a form of sport competition using video games, often taking the form of organised, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams.
Ikea launched last month a new "gaming range" that was to be made available in China in January, in Japan in May and globally from October 2021.
"There are 2.5 billion gamers around the world, a diverse group united by their love of esports and gaming – and by being an overlooked group from a life-at-home perspective," the company had said in a statement.
Partnering with hardware company Republic of Gamers, Ikea said its new range will "democratise the gaming experience, by creating relevant, functional, beautiful and affordable products and complete gaming solutions to make it easier for everyone to create the setup and the home they want."
Earlier this week, Aldi was named the official supplier of the Prime League, a European competition for popular game League of Legends.
The partnership also sees the supermarket chain launch Aldi Gaming, that it said will "promote the e-sports and gaming scene in Germany."
READ MORE: E-sports industry now worth $1.1bn
In January, French e-sports organisation Team Vitality announced a partnership Aldi France.
Meanwhile German e-sports organisation SK Gaming recently partnered with Lidl as its fresh food partner.
Esports Insider noted that "it seems like a natural progression to see more non-endemic brands enter the e-sports space, especially companies that offer everyday needs. E-sports fans need food, insurance, and bank accounts just like everyone else."
The Block-Builders.de report also said League of Legends continues to be the most watched e-sports game by far. It accounted for 34 million viewer hours in January alone – and that’s just on one platform, Twitch.
Video game sales are projected to rise sharply in the next few years and analysts see great potential in the 'social/casual' games segment in particular, where the increase is expected to be around 22% by 2024, the study noted.
The popularity of video games is also reflected on the the VanEck Gaming ETF, which has risen by 72.5% within the last year.
While COVID-19 forced many live e-sports events to cancel, some went ahead in a virtual format, with streaming sites such as Twitch and YouTube seeing a 20% increase in the number of hours streamed during lockdown.
With tournaments offering huge financial prizes, top e-sports players have the potential to win big. The top competing country is the US with American players winning $41.3m in 2019. They are followed by China, which took home $18.5m in winnings last year, and South Korea ($16.5m).
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