Last week, Kotaku put up a compelling piece about the online gaming industry’s obsession with esports – specifically, how the esports bubble is about to burst. Author Cecilia D’Anastasio lays out the situation deftly: Advertisers suspect esports is an unsustainable Ponzi scheme. Players are paid far too much or far too little. Teams are operating at a loss just to get into leagues. Companies are reporting dodgy and inflated viewership numbers. Sponsors and venture capitalists are pouring money in, hoping it’ll “be the next NBA [or] NFL.”
Now, MMORPG players are already predisposed to be thinking “DUH” right about now, I know. We’ve already watched the esports fad raze parts of our genre to the ground as studios desperately try to mold MMOs for esports and divert money away from online games toward things like esports stadiums. I mean, I can’t be the only one who is thinking about Firefall’s esports bus right now, am I? I hope not since I put it in the header. That was seven years ago. We’ve been watching companies fail at esports for a very long time.
Of course, we’ve never seen an industry-wide bubble pop on the magnitude being discussed here.
Set aside your MMO history bias right now and try to look at esports objectively: Do you likewise agree that esports is a bubble about to burst?