Esports is the biggest growth area in gaming and is creating countless opportunities in the market, says George Brasher, MD of HP, UK and Ireland.
They're champion athletes with the reaction times of a fighter pilot. They're elite performers that fill stadiums the world over. And they're creating a buzz that's unprecedented for any form of competition. These aren't sportsmen and women who are used to rackets, bats and balls – at least not physical ones, anyway. These are eSports professionals and their tools of the trade are electronic hardware. Their growth is creating a market boom that everyone must pay attention to.
Remember when PC gaming was a niche pursuit that few people took seriously – even those who worked in technology? Those days are far behind us. That's because eSports is now progressing at a rate that exceeds regular sports. More people watched the League of Legends World Championship than the Masters, the Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA Finals. As such, many companies have to rethink what they know about esports and look at the exciting prospect it now presents.
Take a look at the emerging eSports celebrities who resonate with a global audience. They're the target of countless sponsorship deals and they're also the ones helping to garner huge amounts of investment into this burgeoning industry. In fact, HP is one of those sponsors. We're a big supporter of eSports and we partner with the athletes, leagues and major events in the eSports calendar.
This August, HP attended Gamescom, welcoming pro-gamers, esports journalists, and industry experts to discuss the future of the industry in the UK and compete in the OMEN Challenge where some of the world’s best CS:GO players skills are tested in a number of team battles. We also unveiled HP’s most powerful gaming laptop yet, the OMEN X. Studying how gamers compete at the highest levels, HP is channeling innovation towards performance, design and customisability, delivering desktop power in a laptop for gaming enthusiasts at Gamescom and beyond.
It's not far out of the realms of possibility that esports could become a mainstream interest. It's already being screened on UK TV with its own dedicated channel and revenues for the gaming industry stand at $4 billion per year in Britain. And from a personal standpoint, the thrill I see from my two boys transporting them from gaming event to gaming event at weekends is infectious.
But at the heart of all this is great technology. It's hard not to be excited by the hardware already in the hands of today's champions and what they will be using in the future. I firmly believe that VR will shape eSports and its future. Both players and spectators want to be immersed in the virtual worlds of video games. That's why we're working with the leading VR headset manufacturers including HTC and Microsoft to make sure VR works in harmony with the hardware powering it. Combine that with 4K UHD technology and there's a lot to look forward to.
But before we get to this future vision, the gaming revolution continues. And it shows no sign of slowing down.