How Technology Can Help Esports Continue Its Astonishing Growth
Misfits Gaming chief Matthew McCauley believes that Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology has the ability to revolutionise esports. McCauley, who is social media and marketing director of the outfit, identified new technologies as they key to continuing the growth of the esports market.
In recent years the industry has exploded in popularity and commercial value, exceeding $1 billion, but McCauley is wary that it must continue to innovate to survive. McCauley says: “It is my firm view that the furthering the industry’s growth is in large part going to be dictated by more technological advancements, both in quality and in economy.
“Take VR and AR in current state. These are both still developing, though at a rapid pace, but are just vastly too expensive in their demographic–it’s not affordable at the moment for the consumer or even for the developer to create purpose led titles. “Both technologies are crucial though, in what they add to IP, and in what they add to the user experience. When AR becomes affordable in mainstream technology is when esports changes again.”
McCauley further emphasised the importance of treating esports differently to traditional sports. He is clear that those driving esports must look at non-traditional methods of attracting new audiences and not be held by convention.
He adds: “What if VR headsets came down in price so much that everyone had a VR headset in their household? Instead of watching Twitch on a screen, what if you’re part of the audience or you’re roaming around the map in-game as a VR participant? “Having a real virtual audience and being able to interact as part of a crowd is a huge missing element. We’re in a digital age and a digital world–it’s not traditional consumership. It’s not like we’re at an NFL game.
“We’re looking at this as a fan from your desk or your office: how are you interacting with the tournament, match or brand?”
McCauley has further pinpointed Instagram as a key area of growth for the organization going forward. He believes, as the core audience for esports ages and their habits change, so will their primary sources for social media.
However, he also accepts the need to effectively operate on Twitter to enable conversation and grow audiences in new markets. He says: “As the community gets older, they’re shifting to Instagram. We find it easiest to grow on Instagram in terms of pure follower growth, and we get much more engagement on Instagram purely by how the app functions. “It’s a completely visual platform. We don’t tend to post anything low-end. The difficulty with it is, where Instagram is a high-quality platform, Twitter is still where the conversation happens.”
Furthermore, McCauley feels esports can gain the most commercial success from building authentic and genuine brand partnerships. For this, the French and the South East Asian markets have been highlighted as key to achieving enduring success.
He adds: “The most successful brands are the ones that are making something their fans can interact with. Partnering and esports company with a brand is so crucial to sustainability and longevity. “I’m not saying that esports is going to be the biggest thing on the planet, but it could be, and you could feasibly get a gaming brand that branches across esports and action sports.”