For the most part – and until relatively recently – eSports have existed somewhere on the periphery of the gaming sector. That’s not to say that they have not proven themselves to be immensely popular, not to mention highly lucrative, genres in their own right. In reality, they have. Rather, the realm of eSports boasted its diehard fanbase and, in general, anyone not included within that fanbase knew very little about the goings on within the industry.
In recent years, however, that has begun to change, and the geographical restrictions that once made gaming a solo pursuit have begun to disappear.
The seismic popularity of online streaming sites like Twitch and YouTube, for instance, have enabled gamers to grow their experiences beyond their home’s four walls. Similarly, sociable iGaming genres like online casinos have long-since risen to the fore, bringing players from around the world together over a digital game of cards. Although, do you know where is gambling illegal, and which parts of the world are still barred from this massively influential genre?
Whatever has brought us to this point, the fact remains that, as gamers, most of us are far more connected to the wider world of gaming – and, by extension, a growing pool of professional, competitive players – than we ever were before.
After all, as of 2020, League of Legends Worlds – one of the most popular eSports titles – boasted around 115 million active monthly players. Even by the standard set by the gaming industry, these numbers are remarkable – and testament to quite how substantial the eSports community really is.
And, with great profitability comes great interest – even from those who have made waves in other areas of the entertainment industry. Music streaming giant Spotify has, since the tail-end of 2020, been demonstrating a keen interest in eSports. Read more below.
In August of 2020, it was announced that Spotify had signed up to become an official partner of League of Legends Worlds. The new deal, struck between the streaming giant and League of Legends Worlds developer Riot Games, granted them the ability to release audio content that related to this seminal eSport. From music playlists to world-building podcasts, the platform quickly became the home to a wealth of quality audio content.
As a partner, Spotify also stands as an official sponsor of the 2021 World Final, as well as other major, upcoming events on the League of Legends Worlds calendar. And, more than six months on from the commencement of their partnership, plenty more supportive content is no doubt in the works as we speak.
What Does This Mean for Spotify, and eSports?
The implications, both for the world of eSports and for the wider world of digital entertainment, are pretty significant, to say the very least.
For one thing, this represents a major departure from the ‘niche’ that eSports once fell into. While, of course, plenty of other forces were at work to make that departure happen when it did, there is no denying the incredible influence a key industry player like Spotify could bring to the table.
For Spotify, this all seems to represent a major part of their ubiquity strategy – or, in other words, their hot pursuit of omnipresence in the online entertainment industry. While music and general interest podcasts represent the main attraction for their platform, it is no secret that bearing significant weight within the gaming industry is the key to a level of ubiquity to which all brands aspire.
Consider how quickly Amazon jumped onto the cloud gaming bandwagon – and, of course, how much that decision has already paid off.
It is only in recent years that the gaming industry has truly begun to prove its worth. Like eSports, the industry has always proven lucrative and popular – but only since the mid-2010s has it begun to pose a major rival to, say, movie and TV.
For Spotify, solidifying their position as ‘the’ audio content provider for all aspects of digital entertainment represents a major business move – and one that will no doubt continue to pay off more and more as the influence of eSports keeps growing around the world.
Watch this Space
Many of us came to eSports on the assumption that it would represent a pleasant pastime – something to tune into as and when we found the time. Now, however, it offers a genuine rival to some of the world’s most established sporting events, and many of us invest a great deal of additional time into following, understanding, and exploring the world of eSports.
This is exactly where Spotify comes in – and why they are likely so confident about their current and future success. Watch this space, and consider giving some of Spotify’s latest LOL content a go.