When it comes to the potential of e-sports, the surface has only been scratched.
According to CNN, the industry of professional competitive gaming is expected to smash beyond the $1 billion mark by 2019, which means 2018 is one of the most pivotal years for gamers and studios alike.
With one of the fastest growing titles, Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch, starting to take form as one of the major franchises to be embedded into the culture, the launch of the Overwatch League in 2018 will further solidify its place in the e-sports stratosphere.
Since launching in May of 2016 with 7 million players that number has tripled in the following months. Today, there are 30 million players and counting. The Overwatch League will now curate the best of the best in a unique league format comparable to any pro sport that people watch today.
With 12 teams set to play in its inaugural season, the games officially begin in January and it all culminates in the July playoffs in the new Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles. But players are getting ready now and preseason matches begin as early as December.
These professional players are now stars commanding worldwide respect and pay checks that allow them to drop everything else they’re doing to use e-sports as a legitimate career path. In 2017, e-sports is providing a lane like never seen before and Overwatch is a crucial part of the evolution.
With teams already established in cities like New York, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seoul, and Shanghai, it’s only a matter of time before every major city has their own Overwatch team.
The other thing is that you don’t even have to be competing to take part in it all. With pro gaming viewership at an all-time high, an estimated 427 million people will be watching by the year 2019.
And who knows, maybe those people watching will be the next Overwatch champions inspiring the next generation. E-sports is the real deal.