In recent years, the esports industry has seen explosive growth, both in terms of market value and the number of people engaged.
Even though the sector was hit by a global pandemic, it still managed to continue blooming, whilst also showing mainstream audiences and non-endemic companies the true potential of esports when it comes to entertainment.
With the rapid growth of the industry, we can see various emerging trends, such as spikes in viewership, the volatility of existing scenes and the rise of specific titles. The question is, how can we use this data in order to push the industry’s development in the right direction?
Cyberport’s answer is clear: it starts with a discussion. Speaking with Esports Insider, Eric Chan, Chief Public Mission Officer at Cyberport, explained the importance of keeping discussions about esports’ growth going: “As the new normal takes its shape, industry discussions and thought leadership are needed more than ever to shed light on how the global trend of ‘esportification’ will spawn opportunities for the digital entertainment industry.”
According to Chan, various factors need to be taken into consideration, such as the enablement of technologies and innovations, the cultivation of talents into industry professionals, or the facilitation of diversified competitions and events.
To accommodate the discussion, Cyberport Hong Kong returns with its Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (DELF), an international conference that heavily focuses on the esports industry and its growth. With the theme of ‘New Normal of Digital Entertainment: From Gamification to Esportification’, the goal of DELF 2020 is to lead the industry in identifying market drivers and new monetisation models, decode the value chain of this booming sector, as well as tap the global trend of ‘esportification’ to effectively navigate this new standard.
The forum will feature a number of esteemed industry figures to discuss not only current topics in esports, but a variety of upcoming trends in the industry. This includes the impact of emerging technologies, business prospects, and even regional dynamics. Some of the speakers shared with Esports Insider their views on the discussions, with all essentially agreeing on the immense importance of events like DELF.
“We’ve seen new titles enter the scene, shifts in viewing behaviour and whole new markets open up in recent days. Trying to do business in esports without understanding the specific trends, emergent risks and key opportunities is a surefire way to not succeed,” said Remer Rietkerk, Head of Esports at analytics firm Newzoo. “By exploring specific dynamics of the industry and relying on qualitative knowledge to synthesize strong data, we can discover exactly what forces are driving the industry, uncover opportunities to innovate and discover gaps in the market to deliver more value to fans and stakeholders.”
Moreover, conventions of such fashion provide space for publishers to promote esports, introduce fresh ideas, or showcase new titles. “The Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum is an exciting opportunity for us to share our ideas for the future of entertainment, alongside other industry leaders and key thought leaders,” commented Chris Tran, Head of Esports – Southeast Asia, Hong Kong & Taiwan at Riot Games.
To point out a different perspective, Valencia Tanoesoedibjo, Director at MNC Group explained: “In terms of the future of esports, events like DELF help create new, alternative career paths for the youth, be it professional players, game developers, commentators or entrepreneurs. In other words, it will help connect the people contributing or wanting to be a part of the industry.”
As mentioned above, the main topic to be discussed is ‘New Normal of Digital Entertainment’. While it’s not yet clear, what the ‘new normal’ will look like, we can already take a glimpse at the processes of transformation that is already occurring in the entertainment industry.
MNC Group is one of the biggest media production companies in Southeast Asia, and a great example of pursuing esports in the established entertainment industry in the region. One of the key points that MNC has done in 2020 is creating an esports talent search show and esports awards show in Indonesia, which hold both esports and entertainment value.
Tanoesoedibjo described the relationship between SEA’s entertainment sector and esports as complementary to each other. “It is growing and will continuously grow in the coming future, since the entertainment sector has the capacity to amplify the esports industry and shine a different perspective towards a wider audience,” she affirmed.
Eric Chan confirmed the trend of traditional entertainment fusing with esports, especially at times when both sectors are being challenged by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “During these difficult times, we saw global mainstream sports brands such as NBA and F1 organise esports matches not only to engage fans, but in some instances, to become substitutes for their physical tournaments,” noted Chan. “A number of pop concerts were held and live-streamed through popular gaming platforms.”
Given these points, the ‘esportification’ in digital entertainment seems to be very much in progress, and it’s really up to leading companies to decide how to navigate it. In this regard, events like DELF are a significant agent that can help determine the future direction of both the esports and entertainment sectors, allowing brands to ‘reach the unreachable’.
For the first time, DELF 2020 will bring together the physical and virtual worlds of digital entertainment and esports in a hybrid setting that allows industry players and enthusiasts worldwide to attend either in person or virtually. In addition to insights of experts, DELF will also stage a series of live tournaments, performances, game experiences, start-up showcases and more.
On top of that, DELF will shelter the inaugural APRU eSport MetaGame Conference organised by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. The conference will focus on Hong Kong as an emerging esports leader in the region and examine how international esports companies can help develop career pathways for students in the esports ecosystem.
For more about DELF, please visit: delf.cyberport.hk.
Disclaimer: Esports Insider is an official media partner of the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum.