Saturday night’s Fortnite competition, hosted by Ninja at the Luxor in Las Vegas drew a record number of concurrent viewers on Twitch and demonstrated what the future of live entertainment will look like.
Last night I heard talk of gaming stars, such as Ninja becoming the future “Vegas circuit” hosting events and drawing large crowds (the way traditional entertainers and athletes have done to date).
Last night showed me the future of entertainment more broadly. The way game-shows attracted us for decades after they burst onto the scene in mid 20th century, is the way gaming competitions are attracting people now.
Why? Engagement. Authenticity. Reach-ability. The fans can connect directly, regularly via Twitch, Twitter, and other platforms. The fans can also play the game and have a real shot at becoming just as good as their favorite players. It doesn’t matter what color you are, or sex, or how tall or fat or skinny you are. You have just as much potential to be the next Ninja, as anyone else.
How do I know this to be the case? Look at the impact Ninja had on this kid who talks about how much it means to him to know he can come home from school everyday, and see Ninja’s stream: Video via Bleacher Report Twitter
This young guy isn’t the only one that feels this way. I continually see people leave messages for Dr. Disrespect, Ninja, and other streamers (messages alongside donations in their Twitch stream) talking about how much the stream helps them get through the day, or how looking forward to that daily interaction is the bright spot for them while enduring hard times. This engagement and the way fans are touched by these stars is tangible.
Where do these events fit in the esports landscape? There is a gap in the content provided in the esports market right now. There are a few large franchised games with huge viewership, which is great. And then there is the day to day Twitch stream, which draws a large audience as well. In between those two formats, is an opportunity for special events, like we saw last night. These events bring the community together, they inspire, and they engage. For the business of esports, most importantly, they create content, and allow for multi-channel distribution of that content. This is where the opportunity is.
This is the future of entertainment. This is the new reality TV. This is the competitive environment people long for. This moves people, this inspires people, this is connected, it’s personable, and it’s here, now, winning massive market share.
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