The Growing Popularity of eSports in the Middle East

There have been few sports genres that have accelerated as quickly as eSports over the past couple of years. It was a prominent selection for bettors throughout the COVID-19 lockdown era, as it was one of the only sports still in operation. So, how popular are eSports in the Middle East, and what does the future of the sector look like in both this area and the world in general?

What Are eSports?

For those that aren’t familiar with eSports, the whole  would seem like a very strange thing. However, it’s actually relatively easy to understand. eSports are electronic sports, which sees two or more players compete against one another in a video gaming environment . Unlike other console gaming titles that users could play at home against the computer, players in eSports compete against other other competitors for some of the top prizes in the world. Some of the prizes that are available are extremely lucrative, with some even offering hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Players that are involved in eSports can both be amateur and professional, with some games also now producing teams that invest in the players that play for them, much like a football team buying and paying their players. The game that players are playing determines whether the player is playing alone or as part of a team. Betting on the sport was extremely prominent during COVID resulting in an increase of Arabic casinos with eSports betting on Fortnight and League of Legends.  

Popular eSports Game 

Due to the sheer popularity of eSports, the number of games that are now played in the sector is improving with every passing year and the pandemic fueled this further. Betting on the sport was extremely prominent during COVID resulting in an increase of Arabic casinos with eSports betting on Fortnight and League of Legends. Much loved titles such as FIFA and Street Fighter are single-player competitions, with gamers coming up against another, with the winner progressing through to the next round. Meanwhile, huge titles such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty and League of Legends often see teams working together to try and get the win.

Working as a team in eSports could be one of the most skilled versions of gaming out there, as players will have to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of all players in their team. Unlike other professional sports, there isn’t a need to have separate male and female teams either, as all are unisex, meaning that there are no barriers holding back female players. Unfortunately, recent studies have found that only one in 20 competitors in the industry are women, which is something that the sector will need to address as they continue to build eSports’ popularity.

Increased Number of Viewers

With the Middle East being one of the fastest growing markets within eSports, it’s important to mention that it isn’t just playing of eSports that is popular, as viewership has also increased. Money is coming into the industry with W Ventures from Dubai announcing that they would be spending $50 million to develop an eSports ecosystem for the Middle East. Other evidence found that in 2020 over 4 million users from Middle Eastern countries watched Twitch streams of eSports competitions. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen whether that number was so high purely down to the lack of real-life sporting fixtures taking place due to COVID.  

What Does The Future Look Like?

The popularity of eSports is snowballing and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. It’s becoming the norm for people to watch games with friends on the weekends. This growth is fueled by continued investment, as well as technology advancements that provide new methods of competition and fan engagement.  Despite this, there are still a lot of questions about this new sector. For instance, the industry is not regulated and is not clear about its rules and regulations. There isn’t a clear division between professional and amateur players. More importantly, the industry has been criticized for its lack of gender diversity which might have an adverse impact on what many see as a male-dominated field. eSports has proven to be more than just a game – it is a community where people have found friendship and relationships that transcend the boundaries of gaming. The social change that e-sports has brought to the world of gaming can be seen in online communities, as well as offline. 

The boom of eSports is showing no sign of stopping, it might  be the perfect time to download a Twitch account and start watching the high quality action on show.