Photo credits: ESL Gaming, Gabriel Kulig
2023 is officially around the corner. To kick off the year, we asked industry leaders to provide forecasts for the year ahead – both for their companies and for the industry as a whole.
Bold predictions have been made in previous editions, such as Tundra Esports aiming to win The International (spoilers: it did). Below is widespread agreement and disagreement on everything from the challenges of the macroeconomic environment, to the scene to watch in 2023, and what needs to change in the industry over the next year.
Read on for optimism, pessimism and hot opinions on the direction of the industry for 2023. By the way, this is part two of our industry series, be sure to check out what everyone has been saying about 2022! Also, don’t forget to check out what some stakeholders have predicted for 2022!
What are your predictions for the esports industry price in 2023?
The end of last year was a tough time for many companies, with job cuts and plant closures across the board. We asked stakeholders how the industry will change over the next 12 months.
Stuart Saw, CEO and Co-Founder of RTS: “With the recession approaching, we will see many challenges for the current esports business model. I was in the last recession and it was brutal. Although fortunately we are in a far better position than last time, we will see that most organizations will seek to build airstrips to guide them through the economic challenges ahead.”
Josie Brown – SVP, Brand, Content and Marketing at Team Liquid: “I expect other organizations to continue to grow and expand their brands to the point where they can exist independently of the games we might be primarily serving them with.” get in touch. Team Liquid is so much more than a team or two in a circuit or league. We’re a global organization that has the ability to define ourselves and that’s a great place to be.”
Grant Zinn, CEO of Beastcoast: “I think most organizations will use 2023 to focus on strategic growth as the era of VC-backed organizations making money solely from shirt sponsorships is over. We need to be creative and careful about how we expand to ensure our organizations and teams in this space have longevity.”
Jérôme Coupez, Prodigy Agency: “There are many challenges, especially for teams, to develop their revenue streams and maximize monetization. I really hope that all teams can do this.
“Many games continue to grow with large audiences, which allows the sport to grow globally and it’s not going to stop any time soon. I just hope the entire industry finds ways to appropriately redistribute revenue so that everyone involved can continue to grow and make it sustainable for everyone.”
Nicolas Maurer, CEO, Team Vitality: “In this difficult economic situation, access to capital on the market has become more complicated. And since eSports teams still haven’t found the right path to profitability, we need to learn together how to solve the equation of doing it better, but with fewer resources. Because of this, 2023 could be the age of maturity for esports organizations.
What are some of your organization’s goals for the next year?
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2023 is here and with it the KPIs. We asked esports companies what their goals are for the year ahead and summarized them below.
Beastcoast: Invest more in the grassroots scene and community events around Melee and Pokémon.
ESL FACEIT Group: Support indie, AA and AAA developers earlier in the game development cycle and expand their position “beyond gameplay”.
Prodigy Agency: Aims to expand its business into key geographies such as South Korea and create opportunities for players to achieve long-term sustainability through multi-year structured deals as well as increasing IP strategies.
Team Liquid: Being in the championship talk in every game they compete in while continuing to build a shared identity to earn more fan hearts.
Team Vitality: Celebrate its 10th anniversary, win every single competition (LEC, VCT, grab the CS:GO Major trophy in Paris in front of a home crowd) and gain fans with the V.Hive mobile app.
The Story Mob: “Grow!” Further strengthening operations, building on what was achieved in 2022 and examining expansion.
Tundra Esports: “Consecutive winners from The International would be nice.” Plus to challenge for other big titles and create more content around their ambassadors.
What do you think the industry needs to work on in the coming year?
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What does the industry need to do differently in 2023 to bring about positive change? What is driving the industry forward?
Jérôme Coupez, Prodigy Agency: “I think the biggest challenge for everyone is to continue to develop ways to monetize the incredible audiences and fan base that is being built in esports – by delivering really meaningful products and content.
“There’s still a lot we can do to keep esports growing and I truly believe we have some of the most innovative minds in our industry!”
Evgeniy Roshchupkin: CEO of Tundra Esports: “I would like to see Esports break into mainstream streaming services. The rivalries, competitions and player stories are sometimes even more exciting than in esports, while the content and production facilities in esports are top-notch. In general, rights merchandising would be one of the key opportunities for esports companies to successfully scale in the years to come.”
Josie Brown – SVP, Brand, Content and Marketing at Team Liquid: “To me, the success of our Brazilian VALORANT women’s team this year has only validated how much more can be done to support women in esports. I want to continue and expand Team Liquid’s leadership presence here, empowering women professionals and content creators to reach new heights. Hopefully the industry will follow suit.
Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group: “There is scope to improve live experiences and the way eSports is broadcast. Enough to eventually bring them to the same level of awareness as Formula 1 or football.
“The sector understandably has a particular appeal – mainly for the ever-growing audience of players or fans of certain competitive games – and we need to broaden that appeal more broadly. Access to live or broadcast eSports games is part of the problem when it comes to reaching a wider audience.”
Which eSports title do you think will see the most development in 2023?
Credit: EVO, Carlton Beener
One title in particular has captured almost everyone’s imagination for 2023, for obvious reasons. But there was also an unexpected, recurring response in the fray.
Miles Yim, Associate Director at The Story Mob: “It’s VALORANT. I’m fairly optimistic that the resources generated by franchising – including connecting international ecosystems in VCT Americas, EMEA and APAC – will fuel viewership growth and create compelling storylines that will delight more fans.
Stuart Saw, CEO and Co-Founder of RTS: “2023 and 2024 will be the years of the fighting game community [FGC]. We have new titles joining the community and with an already strong audience in the market we expect it to grow to new highs.”
Grant Zinn, CEO of Beastcoast: “It will be exciting to watch VALORANT grow in real-time as it moves to partnership. There is always a learning curve with any new esport, but the progress they have made so far has been impressive and it will be a great case study of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to legitimizing a new esport. And of course, as an organization with a significant presence in the FGC, we are very excited about Project L and can’t wait to learn more. Fingers crossed for Open Beta in 2023!”
Craig Levine, Co-CEO of EFG: “I think there will be a lot more development and growth coming from the mobile gaming space, with new games coming out and the top mobile esports will evolve.
“From an attendance perspective, we think this is one of the most accessible platforms for esports. Our Snapdragon Pro Series saw massive participation and 60% audience growth across our programming: PUBG Mobile, Clash of Clans and Brawl Stars.”
That’s it for our esports industry predictions for 2023. Thank you to all the contributors who made this article possible in both parts – if you would like to contribute next year please reach out to email@example.com. Looking for our 2022 industry review? Click here!