Esports trends to look out for in 2023

Reading time: 3 minutes

2022 was a fantastic year for esports, with LAN events returning after the pandemic. We can’t wait for even more live action offerings in 2023.

But, the world is evolving and esports must adapt to the latest market trends to keep and grow its audience.

We look at what we could see in the next 12 months.

Utilising the Metaverse

The metaverse has the ability to combine aspects such as online gaming, social media, augmented reality and cryptocurrencies. It helps users to interact with digital objects and other users through their avatars.

Although this technology is already in place, it will likely improve and grow in the coming years. This is especially after gaming developers witnessed the success of Fortnite and Roblox music concerts. The latest MTV European Music Awards had a category for “Best Metaverse Performance”.

In the future, esports tournaments could shift from physical to virtual spaces. Instead of spectators watching esports tournaments from screens, they might be able to follow these events in a virtual reality world and feels as if they are right inside the tournament.

Women on the rise

Gaming is not a male-only activity. According to Forbes, 40% of gamers across the US in 2020 were women. This number is rising, especially in Asian countries.

Berlin International Gaming recently announced its women’s League of Legends team call BIG Chroma. This project focuses on scouting female and non-binary talent in League of Legends as well as nurturing them to become professional athletes. This trend can be attributed to social connections and the need for competition.

Gaming developers are seeing these trends, and its likely they will produce more women-centre games in the future. Child of Light, Tomb Raider, Horizon and Hellblade all have female-leads, and expect to see a lot more of this in the future.

The EA Sports-FIFA divorce

It’s going to be astonishing how this plays out, but after 30 years EA Sports and FIFA are going their separate ways.

This could allow greater creative control for EA, and it is fascinating to see what happens with Ultimate Team and the esports scene on EA Sports FC in the back end of 2023. Perhaps EA’s club partnerships will take an even greater role, or perhaps the game could move away from an annual release.

It also presents an opportunity for a third party to come in and partner with FIFA, creating healthy competition in the football gaming space.

Will VCT work?

The Valorant Champions Tour was a fantastic success in 2022, hitting 1.5 million peak viewership during the Champions finals, but Riot Games had decided to switch things up for 2023.

For the first time, there will be 30 partner orgs for the competition, competing across three regions: Pacific, EMEA and the Americas. This will create a greater identity to the tournament, similar to how the same franchises compete in League of Legends tournament around the globe each year.

With even more of a reason for fans to get behind their teams, and a kick-off tournament in Sao Paulo, we could be seeing the future blueprint of esports tournament unfolding in 2023.

Fortnite World Cup comeback

Arguably the biggest esports event ever, the Fortnite World Cup in 2019 had a prize pool of a massive $40,000,000, had peak viewership of 2.3 million hours, and had a total runtime of close to 200 hours.

The pandemic had prevented the tournament making a comeback in recent years, but with a Covid-19 (hopefully) behind us, it would be incredible to see Fortnite put their showcase event back on.

The World Cup featured both solos and duos, Creative Cup and a Pro-Am, seeing the likes of Marshmello team up with Ninja.

Fortnite esports is still big, but it doesn’t have the pull that League of Legends does – despite it having a far greater player base. The most recent Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) Invitational only had peak viewership of 380,000, so if Epic want to flex the game’s muscles – bring back the World Cup!

Beyond the Match
The SPORTFIVE Magazine

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