Rolando Grandi

When I grow up, I'll be e-sporting

When we imagine the sports activities our children will practice, it is natural to imagine them playing football, tennis, horseback riding or learning strategy with chess.
It is less obvious to imagine them progressing in the League of Legends or Fortnite rankings..
Yet… Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming sport, and electronic sports have become true international events, especially in China, the United States and Europe. A demonstration of the power of AI, which appeared in simulation games in the 1990s, and is now revolutionizing the video game industry with neural learning networks.


A booming sector

Between port and networked video games, this phenomenon is becoming more democratic and its scope is constantly expanding. The e-sports nations have embarked on hosting major competitions. An example that makes you dizzy? More than 200 million people connected to attend the 2018 final of the League of Legends International Tournament, which saw the Chinese team (“Invictus Gaming”) and the European team (“Fnatic”) compete against each other! By way of comparison, last year’s famous Super Bowl attracted “only” 103 million spectators. The phenomenon is global, from Katowice, which has become the European capital of e-Sport, to Korea, which in 2000 authorised the creation of an organisation managing eSport, to France, which has given e-Sport a legal status.

This growing enthusiasm could give e-Sports their credentials by opening the door to prestigious official competitions such as the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Olympic Committee recognized that “competitive electronic games involve some physical activity that can be compared to more traditional sports”. If it has decided to delay this decision in view of the “rapid” developments in the sector, it may well consider creating e-JOs.

In the meantime, L’Equipe already has an e-sport section and your children can join one of the many e-Sport schools that are developing in France. For example, the Paris Gaming School and the Helios Gaming School offer training to become an eSport professional or to train for new jobs in this emerging industry, eSport coach, manager, streamer, e-sport journalist or community manager.


A flourishing market

The sector offers good prospects. The market is expected to reach $3 billion by 2022 according to Goldman Sachs estimates, with monthly audiences of… 300 million people. Many different actors are involved, from video game publishers (ACTIVISION BLIZZARD, UBISOFT, TENCENT, EA) to streaming platforms (TWITCH, acquired by AMAZON, or HUYA in China), hardware companies (INTEL, NVIDIA, RAZER), professional teams (FNATIC, CLOUD9, IG) and many others.

The rise of this global phenomenon deserves our full attention, as the investment opportunities it will offer are vast.

Until then, dear parents, don’t be afraid. e-Sport tournaments pay their players better than some “Grand Slam” golf tournaments. Fortnite’s first solo world champion, a 16-year-old American, alias “Bugha”, pocketed $3 million at the end of July, and EPIC GAMES is offering a total of $30 million in prizes to the best players of the 2018-2019 season from its global blockbuster Fortnite…

Artificial Intelligence