The Next Financial Goldmine
Even if you haven’t heard the word “Esports” before, you have probably heard of the industry in passing. People getting paid to become legendary at video games, experts at collecting rare items to exchange for real-life currency, and of course, the MMO universes. And all of these constitute Esports in one way or another.
But how does someone monetize the sport in question? Maybe it is similar to hiring a tradesman to build a character for someone who hasn’t the time to do so, or maybe it is allowing sponsors to buy ad space on banners that run during the games, but no matter what the financial draw, it is abundantly clear to anyone who is paying attention that Esports is the next great investment boom.
A Brief History of Esports and its Growth
From the early days of gaming, championships were waged, and prizes won, all of them backed by sponsors. The arcade games of the 80s beget Atari and Nintendo and so forth, and movies have shown these winner-takes-all challenges for as long as they have been played. Movies like the Wizard which was about a kid who excelled at Mario Bros, only to get to play the previously unreleased Mario 3 in his final match as crowds looked on and cheered.
It was the crowds that drew the first investors. Eyes on the screen, watching every pixel as it lit up in a kaleidoscope of colors, the group unaware they were not only watching the game but also subliminally being coerced into buying products and services. These days the investors and sponsors aren’t nearly as tricky.
Now, with enough of a following, investors approach the gamers directly, strike what can be a very lucrative deal, and put their product or service on banners or clickable buttons, just enough off-screen not to draw too much attention, but enough to make an impact on sales. The greater the skill of the player, the higher the viewership, and the more revenue the company, and the player, can make.
Esports is very commonplace now with many of these pro-gamers making a comfortable living
from investors, sponsors, media rights, team salaries, merchandising, and tournament wins. Many of the payments are made via PayPal, Venmo, and other low-tax online financial sources. And it is only growing stronger in popularity.
Can Investing in Esports Be a Sound Financial Investment
One of the hallmarks of a worthwhile financial move is the longevity of the business you wish to invest in. So, the real question is how long will Esports be a viable investment choice? And unless an EMP blasts us back to the stone age and all electronic devices are rendered useless, Esports is poised to stay for a long, long time.
Largely, its security as an investment is due to the wide range of players in age and genre. Kids as young as 3 to as old as 50 (and then some) love video games. Some still prefer the classics, but hop into any Call of Duty Online Campaign and the vast array of ages and nationalities will blow your mind. And that is just one game, with a multi-cultural appeal, worldwide.
Fortnite, League of Legends, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, Halo, and as we mentioned, many of the Call of Duty titles, all have opportunities for aggressive investing, but only if the players do the majority of their gaming online. And the best post their conquests on YouTube or Twitch, which is another chance to make some money from viewers.
The Formats for Investing in Esports
Esports investment follows the same basic principles as any other investment. Do the research, think pragmatically, don’t leave anything to chance, and do not go with your gut. It is like buying stock. Watch the movement and study the patterns. Can you buy Esports stock? Absolutely. But you must always be vigilant and keep an eye on the company as well as the stock. Don’t get surprised. That way lies financial ruin.
Here are some good ways to invest in Esports:
1. Invest in the Developer
Most companies that market largely to Esports interests are publicly traded. Gaming companies like Activision and Electronic Arts have been on the stock exchange for decades and their stock is ripe for purchase. Find the stock that matches your investment passion and get in before the next major boost from a new and exciting game.
2. Create a Scholarship
Investing is all about the future and nothing shows your vision of the next gaming horizon like the funding of a scholarship to help games that might need a little boost. This helps the industry grow, gets some much-needed attention back on the people, not just the revenue, and humanizes the entire endeavor.
3. Think Financially but Act Locally
Is there an Esports player, or even better, a team in your area? In larger towns, there are hubs and havens where these games get together weekly to challenge players abroad. A little financial backing to ensure they get playtime and resources will always be appreciated.
4. Look to Home
Parents, since the dawn of video games, have been frustrated with how long their children sit in front of the TV or computer and play endlessly. Perhaps instead of chastising them, invest in their future by backing this passion. Ask them if they would like to play as a professional, or maybe get involved in Esports promotion and management.
As with many investment opportunities, some charlatans will take advantage of your generosity or ignorance in the field. Don’t let yourself get played. If you want the soundest investment, deal with the players as little as possible. Events, live streams, buying developer stocks, and the like are the safest solution, especially while getting your feet wet if you know nothing about the industry.
Investing in Esports is the new frontier giving greater power to individuals on both sides. To the investors, they can track their investments with minimal effort and understand more easily than trying to decipher the stock market. And the players have a responsibility to their “shareholders” to do their best to ensure they, as a brand, excel.
While all this is true, in the end, it is still investing, and what is an investment but an educated gamble. Things happen you cannot plan for, people get sick and die unexpectedly, and you must keep your head. It is a business. Treat your investing with that thought in mind. Do the research and make wise, pragmatic choices based on hard data, not gut feelings.