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Can Blockchain level up the eSports industry?

Author: Johannes Hoericke

    While parents are concerned about their kids playing too much video games and politicians still discuss if shooter games are leading to terrorist attacks and violent behavior, eSports legends “Ninja” and “Faker” are collecting vast amount money from eSports tournaments and even more money from their ongoing streams. If you ask yourself, what eSports are, it’s basically a video game competition, usually streamed on the Internet in a championship like environment. Setting aside the debate if video games are actually “Sports” in the traditional understanding, you can’t deny the steady grow of Esports into a multi-million-dollar business with an estimated revenue of 1,5 billion USD in 2017. The industry has more than 500 million fans and overcomes the Olympic Games in terms of viewers in some countries. The industry is still in baby steps but growing rapidly. Yet there are challenges which have to be addressed. Firstly, gamers receive a small portion of the actual turnover of the industry, since there is no legitimate, self-sustaining ecosystem for players or brands. At the moment gamers are highly dependent on video game corporations to create a stable income. The main source of gamer’s revenue lays within donations of fans on streaming platforms like Twitch, the monetization of content on their YouTube channel, tournament prizes and sponsoring deals.

    Due to the decentralization of Blockchain, eSports platforms & content provider could bring together a range of stakeholders to distribute prizes, sponsorships and donations for players. There are plenty of advantages with using a blockchain-based platform for all involved parties. The connection between sponsors and gamers could be facilitated, while amateurs have the possibility to become professionals and manage the distribution of prize money, transactions or donations. Nowadays, brilliant gamers who have an extraordinary skill almost never find their way into a professional gaming team, unless they stream or have a YouTube channel. Imagine a blockchain easily accessible for everyone, where everybody could see the stats of a particular player; teams or manager can look who is the best for their team and fit the role they are currently missing. Developers can use smart contracts and consensus algorithms to eliminate the risk of fraud and secure payments between them and organizers of tournaments. Not mentioning the advantages of in-game assets using the Blockchain technology, which is nowadays connected with a high risk of scam between the trading parties.

    The eSports industry is one of many industries, which could face their challenges by implementing a Blockchain. Trust between sponsors, organizers, developers and gamers could be rebuilt. Gamers enjoy a higher degree of autonomy and streamline their income. On the other hand, developers and organizers could improve their payments, without having to fear fraudulent practices by others. Fans and viewers can directly support their favorite player without having to fear that the donated money does not reach the gamer. Concerning all the mentioned advantages for every party involved in eSports it has to be said that; yes, the Blockchain technology can level up the eSports industry in many ways.

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