According to eSports and Streaming Gameplay, the latest report from global information provider, The NPD Group, 44 percent of current gamers have watched either formal eSports competitions or informal video streaming of gameplay in the past six months.
Those gamers are averaging close to three hours per watching session, with 18 percent watching some form of video game play on a daily basis, and another 46 percent watching weekly.
Similar to watching others play traditional sports such as football or basketball, many video game players are engaged in the experience of watching other gamers play, from their friends and other amateurs, to the top gamers in the world.
Even when focused on competitive eSports, it’s the game being played that consistently attracts viewers. Watchers are most influenced by the game, followed by the quality of the commentators and the team/players. Neither the size of the tournament nor the prize pool played a noticeable role in attracting viewers.
“eSports may have seemed like a niche phenomenon in the past, but it has clearly taken off with strong activity and engagement with consumers,” said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “This is positive for the gaming industry on multiple levels, not only bringing excitement from the events themselves, but also from a marketing standpoint as consumers learn and can then potentially spend on games featured at eSports events.”
Two-thirds of gamers are currently playing the game that they indicate watching the most, with a sizeable group of gamers who are playing games they discovered by watching. This parallels another strong motivator to watching others play: wanting to better understand a game that they know little about. Similarly 69 percent have purchased either a full game or downloadable content because they saw someone playing it online.
An online survey was conducted among males and females ages 9 and older. For children ages 9-17, respondents were contacted through a parental surrogate. The parent was asked to have the child complete the study with their assistance where necessary. Qualified respondents indicated that they have watched an eSports competition or watched informal streaming gameplay within the past six months. The survey was fielded from February 5 – February 18, 2016.
4,029 gamers were surveyed. 1,772 qualified as recent eSports competition or streaming gameplay viewers.