According to a new report from research firm IHS Technology, more people than ever are watching eSports thanks to popular games such as League of Legends and Dota 2. Around 2.4 billion hours of eSports videos were watched during 2013, according to the report – nearly double the 1.3 billion hours watched in 2012. The report goes on to predict that 6.6 billion hours will be watched by fans in 2018, with China representing the largest market for online eSport views in the world, followed by the U.S. and South Korea.
IHS senior director Dan Cryan noted in the report that streaming platform Twitch has been a large component in causing this great influx of viewership, with people watching live streams of eSports nearly tripling in 2013. Azubu and MLG are also boosting these figures, while YouTube, Dailymotion and Tencent provide more "general services and programming related to eSports."
IHS also predicted that by 2018 the eSports scene will be worth around $300 million per year in online global advertising revenue.
"While advertising in and around games has often proved to be a difficult proposition, advertising in online video is commonplace,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, director at IHS. “This form of advertising gives games companies a much better opportunity of accessing the advertising value chain in a successful and meaningful way and offers these companies a route to profitable return on investment from their eSport initiatives."
Finally, the report notes that League of Legends was the most popular eSport (in hours viewed in 2013), followed by Dota 2 and Starcraft II.