Anton Janér and Oskar Bonnevier Fröberg, Abios’ Founders, write for Esports Insider to reminisce over the past year of esports, filled with economic turmoil and a strong market correction. The duo discuss the state of esports, potential future market trends and betting product developments.
The wider global economy has seen a downturn. As a result, many startups and enterprises in tech have struggled to find their footing as the investment rug has been pulled from under their feet. This hasn’t left esports untouched. Many companies and projects have been forced to restructure or downsize operations. A phenomenon dubbed ‘the esports winter’ has led to hiring freezes, project cancellations and stagnated growth.
But despite this constant chill, there have been multiple developments that have still occurred in the esports industry — both from competitive and betting sides of the scene.
Major moves by esports’ tier-one titles
The reality of the global economy has undoubtedly trickled down into esports and many adjacent industries, such as crypto and web3. Nonetheless, the largest esports titles keep breaking new ground and topping previous records in viewership and fan engagement.
Counter-Strike 2 fully launched on September 27th. Even before its official launch, Counter-Strike and the subsequent beta releases of Counter-Strike 2 reignited engagement among old fans. The franchise saw a new record in concurrent players in May 2023 and brought in a wave of new, excited players.
With Counter-Strike 2 fully launched into professional play, matches are filled with upsets. With a packed esports calendar for 2024 and an engaged fan base, a strong year for Counter-Strike 2 is expected, kicking off with the Copenhagen Major in March 2024.
The other behemoth title in esports, League of Legends, has broken viewership and engagement records, with League of Legends World Championships 2023 boasting a peak viewership of 6.4m, up from 5.1m peak viewers the year before. This was followed by strong viewership during earlier championship stages, likely fuelled by an updated tournament format allowing teams to see more high-stakes matchups.
Riot Games ignited fans’ passion throughout the tournament, strongly indicating an upward trajectory of the esports title. This is despite the LCS, the ecosystem’s North American league, suffering in terms of viewership and reducing its size next year.
The success of esports titles hasn’t fully spread out into the wider ecosystem, as several organisations, tournament organisers and startups have announced insolvencies or downsized operations. This sent shockwaves throughout the industry, as many talented individuals have been forced to leave the industry and pursue careers in other verticals. This poses a hard blow to the industry. Nonetheless, the companies that can weather this storm will fuel a more mature market, complete with greater structures and operations.
Esports growth might have stagnated, but in its place, we hope to see a more sustainable, healthy ecosystem able to support players, organisations and fans for years.
Product Development at Abios and the Esports Betting Landscape
As for Abios, 2023 has been a landmark year. We have long believed that esports betting products must better align with younger generations’ current digital entertainment and consumer habits. As such, Abios propelled the product side of esports betting further, launching several highly-anticipated products and features to bolster esports betting opportunities.
This includes Abios’ odds feed, which features engaging product features such as a same-game bet builder for Counter-Strike with highly improved pricing for correlated outcomes. It also features player props and round-by-round betting, paramount for sportsbooks looking to provide engaging markets in Counter-Strike.
New partnerships have also marked the year, headlined by an agreement with GRID. This allowed Abios to feed automated models with the fastest data sources. Using official, real-time data, Abios aims to ensure that markets operate fast and that customers enjoy higher uptime and lower bet delays.
Lastly, Abios wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for its partners. We’re very happy to have been able to announce partnerships with operators Dragoni and Oyawin, supplying data-driven odds across different markets in esports.
As part of Kambi, with sister company Shape Games, Abios will be looking to continue innovating and creating engaging esports products and content. The company’s focus for 2023 has been to bring esports odds products on par with ones seen for traditional sports. As such, Abios’ learnings when it comes to product development will be taken forward into the new year.: The ultimate aim is to take the best of esports, innovate and come up with new and exciting solutions that Abios’ customers haven’t seen before.
Despite the hardships, we look forward to seeing the esports industry evolve and mature in 2024.
Disclaimer: This article is from our sponsor Abios.