Tuesday, October 2, 2012 : E-SPORTS A FRESH AVENUE FOR ONLINE GAMBLING
Turning the massive interest in video game competitiveness to advantage
Writing for Forbes Magazine this week, social gaming experts Alan Mcglade and Corey Wade presented an interesting perspective on the attitudes of the key 18-24 age demographic to competitive interaction on video games and its growing merge with internet gambling.
Huge numbers of 18-24 year old males are keenly interested in competitions involving top-of-the-line video games, forming leagues in a process that is now known as e-Sports built around the live and online streaming of competitive matches between players of popular video games such as StarCraft II, League of Legends, and Diablo III.
"It represents a major cultural and economic shift from old-world, physical forms of entertainment with limited availability to easily accessible virtual entertainment in the online space," the authors note.
"It’s a shift that breaks along generational lines, aided by [PC, laptop, tablet and mobile] technology that is increasingly integrated into every aspect of our lives."
The article observes that there is a significant demographic divide within gambling in the United States.
Casinos still attract large crowds, but approximately 60 percent of casino gamblers are over 50.
"That doesn’t mean wager-based entertainment is unappealing to younger people – only that it is manifesting itself in a new way," the article notes, pointing out that Zynga's Texas HoldEm Poker product is second only to Facebook itself in "likes" and generates massive participation.
The article goes on to quote statistics on international online gambling revenues of $30 billion, with over 40,000,000 regular poker players globally and 15,000,000 online cash play poker players.
"At first glance, a video game where Terrans and Aliens battle one another in space seems to share little in common with a card game," the authors observe. "But not everyone sees it that way. A company called Playhem has built a social wagering and competitive gaming website offering a common platform for head-to-head game play and the streaming of matches.
"They don’t see traditional video gaming as the necessary limit of eSports; the site is currently being expanded from Starcraft II, League of Legends, and sports video games into the world of online poker.
"They believe that by breaking the game from the limitations of the physical world, while embracing the cerebral competitive nature and entertainment aspects of video games, a completely fresh scene will emerge.”
Playhem co-founder Keith Swan says: “We see online poker as much closer to a real-time strategy video game than a physical game of table poker.
“It’s about strong quantitative skills and the ability to process information about opponents, think quickly, and employ calculated risk taking. Of course, there is the nature of online communities and how they prefer to compete. Video games are always at the cutting edge – nothing is more progressive than the ecosystems around Dota 2, Diablo 3, Starcraft II, and League of Legends.
"We already see behavior in our free Poker apps on Facebook that very closely mirrors that of these hardcore video games – it’s social and participative.”
The authors conclude by noting that the culture of playing competitive games online is evolving at warp speed.
"eSports tells us that the likely winners in the online gambling market will be not only the obvious casino players, but also others that embrace the full spectrum of entertainment and social media around it.”
Read the full article at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alanmcglade/2012/10/01/what-esports-can-tell-us-about-the-future-of-online-gambling/