This week I try to explain (for Boomers):
The Fortnite World Cup
The Size of the Video Games Market
The Upcoming Live Streaming Platform Battle
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Fortnite World Cup Explained (For Boomers)
Todays episode kind of comes out of dark forest chats with Louis Center. Coiner of the fantastic phrase “if you’re surprised by anything on the internet in 2019, you’re 100% a boomer”.
And it’s that surprise I want to talk about this week. As the levels of Boomer confusion and god awful reporting on 16 year old Bugha winning 3 million dollars in the Fortnite World Cup have reached new heights.
As with everything in 2019 another huge behemoth has crept up on you whilst you were glued to the 24h news cycle and endless police procedurals.
Firstly, some numbers.
For all marvels bluster and hollywood’s congratulatory back patting about being such a grand cultural force – Global box office revenue for 2018 hit $41.7 billion an all-time high. Meanwhile, Video game revenue in 2018 reached a new peak of $43.8 billion overtaking the film industry.
For comparison, the total European football market by revenue is now estimated to be worth around £25.1 billion.
Last october Rockstar games released the video game Red Dead Redemption 2. Which cost an estimated $100 million dollars to make. Making it one of, if not THE most expensive video games ever made. On the flipside, the game generated $725 million in sales from its opening weekend alone so you can see why they think its ok to spend that much money on a single game.
In addition, GTA 5 by the same studio launched september of 2013 is certainly the most financially successful media title of all time. Taking approximately $6 billion in revenue by 2018. This number is undoubtedly higher now.
I’ve quipped to folks before that playing Red Dead Redemption is the cultural equivalent in 2019 of going to Bayreuth to watch the Ring Cycle. But can be done all from the comfort of your own living room.
To use the same timeline as Hollywood, videogames are currently going through their Cecil B. DeMille phase in film history – we are only 50 years into the medium.
This weeks world cup is perhaps the biggest esports event to burst the mainstream bubble.
The Fortnite world cup was the culmination of a video game competition that began with over 40 million players. Whittled down to 100. The event peaked in viewership across YouTube and the live streaming platform Twitch at just over over 2.3 million. Making Fortnite World Cup the most-watched competitive gaming event of all time (excluding China. But explaining chinese livestreaming culture would be a whole other episode of confusion)
The competitors taking part in the competition like the winner Kyle Giersdor aka Bugah trained 6 hours a day in front of his computer around his school commitments. Which is a similar level of effort child chess grandmasters put in. They kids aren’t simply playing video games.
I should also note that the Korean esports Association was created back in 2000. So e-sports sit alongside k-pop in terms of Korea’s cultural soft power.
Taking a wider view of livestreaming for a moment. Last year the boxing fight between popular youtubers KSI and Joe Weller became the most watched amateur boxing fight in history. Clocking in at around 25million viewers.
For comparison: Man U’s recent fourth-round win over Arsenal in the FA Cup attracted a peak audience of 7.6 million on BBC One. And only 9.6 million people watched the Wimbledon men’s finals in the UK.
The finals I should also note had lower prize money than Fortnite which was open to again I repeat 40 million people of all genders who put in as many hours of training as a pro tennis players.
As we sink below the line, other events also get considerable figures. The pokemon collectible card game ou may remember kids playing in the early 2000’s recently had a total cash pot worth 150k at its most recent North America International Championship which has racked up 155k views in the last 2 weeks.
More impossibly perhaps. The so called quote unquote satanic card game Magic the gathering that even my own secondary school had a panic about in the 90’s in 2018 had 300k in prize money with a 100k top pot for its world championships. And this year The Mythic Championship Third round held recently topped out at a mind boggling 128k concurrent viewers.
Whilst we may all agree that there is too much money in sports these days, the fact is there is money and eyeballs to be had. So it’s worth mentioning as we close that we are about to see a new platform war of sorts.
Whilst you may have heard of Youtube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. There are other platforms that are focused entirely around live streaming.
The main players being: Youtube Gaming, Twitch – owned by Amazon and Microsoft’s Mixer.
With buyouts and content battles to rival even the most dramatic reporting on who gets the rights to broadcast a sports ball competition. For example: The Fortnite livestreamer and former Twitch denizen ‘Ninja’ is rumoured to be getting paid about 10million dollars a year for 3 years to stream exclusively on Mixer. Think about how big his personal audience must be.
If I were you, I’d start livestreaming your bridge club’s competitions.
The above is the original script I wrote for the episode. It may differ from what ended up in audio due to time constraints.