Electronic Arts is going all in on the eSports business. They've setup a brand new division headed up by the chief competition officer, Peter Moore. Moore will be accompanied by Todd Stirin who will take on the role of a senior vice president in EA's new Competitive Gaming Division, now known as the CGD.
The news was made over on the official Electronic Arts website, where the multi-billion dollar software publisher and product maker announced that the new division will play a vital role in their fiscal 2016 line-up of games and their attempts to bolster their library around the rapidly budding eSports scene within the interactive entertainment industry.
According to the announcement, EA will focus their eSports division around the competition of gaming, the community that keeps the competition going, and the entertainment qualities present in those titles. Those are really basic marketing buzzwords; but they do mention that those three qualities will highlight how they engage the industry with electronic sports and how they leverage their brands around those qualities.
For instance, they have plans to utilize the entertainment qualities, popularity and reach of FIFA to tap into the eSports community. They already have relationships established with the ESL to further highlight FIFA as a brand to grow its presence in the eSports leagues. They also have plans to bring Madden NFL into the fold thanks to the community built around the America's National Football League. It seems like that's a no-brainer given how popular the NFL is. It seems long overdue for Madden NFL to step into the competitive eSports spotlight.
And speaking of long overdue steps into the spotlight... Electronic Arts will also utilize the competitive nature of Battlefield to finally give the game some much deserved props within the eSports arena. This game has been criminally underutilized within the competitive electronic sports leagues, so it's nice to see that with the growth of the CGD that EA will take advantage of the strong competitive nature of the Battlefield series to see it become a worthwhile competitor within eSports.
They also plan on establishing other brands and popular games under their licensing wing within eSports but they didn't necessarily reveal which ones. I don't know how well something like their NHL and NBA series will do, but according to the Sports Management Club report more people watch eSports than people who tuned in for the NBA finals this past year. So technically, maybe there are more people willing to watch a virtual version of the NBA than what some people might expect.
Of course, I'm sure a few gamers are wondering why there's such a big push for all things eSports lately from some of the top publishers in the gaming industry. It's easy really: money.
According to a market report from research firm Activate, they revealed that eSports is already on target to reach $4 billion in worth by 2018. That's just three years from now. Additional stats back up the value and worth of eSports, indicating that consumers are strongly inclined to purchase sponsored hardware and consumer products advertised during eSports, which is what pushes the sales of enthusiast products from companies like Razer and SteelSeries, two heavily sponsored promoters of eSport activities.
For this year alone SuperData Research indicated that eSports will generate $612 million in revenue. It's more like “What took publishers so long?” as opposed to “Why are they investing so much into eSports?”. Nevertheless, expect to see and hear more about EA's endeavors into the electronic sports market as 2016 wears on.