Gaming and generation next in the advent of Industry 4.0
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Gaming and generation next in the advent of Industry 4.0

Gaming and generation next in the advent of Industry 4.0

Blockchain companies have doubled down on esports to reach gamers, signing multi-year, multi-million-dollar sponsorship contracts

Gulf Business

It seems like everywhere we turn gamification surrounds us. Whether in business, art, education or sports, every industry seems to have incorporated an element of gaming. This year, the global esports audience is forecast to reach 532 million and those in emerging regions, which includes MENA, are predicted to continue to rise, going from 83.6 million in 2021 to 95.5 million in 2022.

Post-pandemic, there is much to be learned from industries that have maintained steady growth, especially if we want to draw generation next’s attention because their evolving consumer behaviours and social use of technology are leading the transition to Industry 4.0.

Mobile technology
Mobile titles are key drivers of growth for esports and games live-streaming audiences. Additionally, mobile titles will also help esports revenues grow by over 24.9 per cent year-on-year to reach $98.8m in 2022. Earlier, gaming just involved a console for one to two players and a one-time purchase of a game. With the advent of the Internet, PC games were created, the multiplayer phase of gaming began and now these games are available at users’ fingertips on their phones. Due to this, the attention span of today’s consumers is around 0.3 seconds, so companies need to stay vigilant to consumer demands to ensure retention. The gaming industry was quick to adapt, not waiting for sales to dip before re-strategising.

New revenue streams
The esports industry has a massive audience and fanbase in recent years. Currently, money flows into esports through media rights, live event ticket sales, merchandise sales, and in-game purchases, but most comes from sponsorships and advertising. However, due to the millennials’ influence, direct-to-fan business models such as merchandising (physical or digital), and loyalty and educational programmes are helping organisations diversify. On the other hand, technologies such as NFTs, blockchain and the metaverse have penetrated the field creating new monetisation opportunities. Businesses across industries are creating NFTs, metaverses and more.

Blockchain technology can unlock direct-to-consumer monetisation channels that were previously unavailable or poorly tapped into. Blockchain companies doubled down on esports to reach gamers and esports enthusiasts, signing multi-year, multi-million-dollar sponsorship contracts. This bolsters esports growth potential, as it can then decrease its dependency on sponsorship revenues. The blockchain games industry has seen exponential growth in the last year, evolving from a largely unknown segment in 2020 to one of 2021’s biggest gaming topics. The number of active blockchain games doubled in the past year to almost 400, according to DappRadar. This growth led to a new business model for games: play to earn (P2E), where players are rewarded with cryptocurrencies for playing a specific title. Compared to traditional games, P2E titles are small but growing market.

Furthermore, regional governments are making heavy investments in the necessary technological and soft infrastructure to support the esports ecosystem. From attracting talent to facilitating events – these entities are actively helping esports thrive. In the UAE and Saudi Arabia specifically, funds have been allocated for various sectors including esports and gaming. With a major chunk of the population being under 25, there is an abundance of youth to create an avid gaming community and progress the market even further.

Mario Pérez is the CEO at MENATech (a company of GGTech Entertainment)

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