A new report by esports market research firm Niko Partners revealed that Asia and MENA accounted for over 56% of global esports revenue in 2022.
According to the firm’s ‘2023 Esports in Asia and MENA Report’, global esports market revenue is estimated to be valued at $1.3bn (~£1bn). China remained the Asia and MENA region’s largest market by generating revenues of $445m (~£353m) in 2022.
Despite generating the most revenue, China suffered a drop in its esports audience in 2022, down 7.8% from its previous year. However, there were increases in regional esports viewership across Asia’s other markets, notably India, Japan and Southeast Asia (SEA). Across MENA and Asia, Niko Partners has reported that there were around 742m esports fans last year, 400m of which were from China alone.
Niko Partners told Esports Insider it calculates the global esports market size based on revenue generated by representative elements of the esports ecosystem. This includes sponsorships, media licensing, team franchising, ticketing, merchandising and livestreaming partnerships for tournaments.
Importantly, the revenue figure excludes revenue generated by esports game sales, in-app purchases and other microtransactions. It also excludes livestreaming revenue for esports titles and content creators.
Niko Partners also added that it estimates the global esports market size based on publicly available data, market trends and its own market model.
Another key takeaway from the report was which games were the most popular last year on PC and console. Niko Partners noted VALORANT, Dota 2, and League of Legends as the regions’ big three in PC, with Apex Legends also showcasing growth in Japan. European esports organisation FNATIC expanded further into Japan by entering the Apex Legends scene last year.
Within the mobile ecosystem, Asia and MENA are largely dominated by PUBG Mobile (Peacekeeper Elite), League of Legends: Wild Rift and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
For the 71-page report, Niko Partners interviewed a variety of industry executives, examined streaming data, reviewed company financials and utilised gamer surveys to compile the data.
Alexander Champlin, Director of Esports Research at Niko Partners, commented: “In 2023, Asia remains the centre of growth for the global esports market, while MENA is becoming an influential global player through high-value investments and high-profile events.
“Esports fandom continues to rise across the region. Esports businesses are consolidating and focusing their efforts, while demand for esports remains strong. As a result, we expect to see moderate growth in both revenue and audience engagement this year.”