The increasingly social nature of esports has leveraged digital platforms as a crucial feature for gathering fans online to witness competition excitement
Multiple sectors, including social media, have been significantly transformed by esports’ rapid growth across the world. The increasingly social nature of esports has leveraged digital platforms as a crucial feature for gathering fans online to witness competition excitement. Esports refers to professional esports athletes competing against each other for different game genres such as Real-Time Strategy (RTS), Sports Simulation, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), First Person Shooter (FPS), etc. with popular games like Valorant, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Apex Legends, Free Fire etc.
People love video games for various reasons. Some venture into it for the competitiveness it offers while others look to escape into a virtual world to unwind. And now more than ever, people are looking for novel ways to connect with friends and stay engaged.
Gaming Platforms – The New social media
Today gamers socialise on different online platforms as these have easy in-built capabilities where players can text and make voice calls to each other. Platforms like Discord are a much more advanced version of Zoom or Google meet; users can follow their favourite streamers and talk to each other and the streamer on live streams. Platforms like Booyah! offer gamers an easy and seamless way to both stream and watch their favourite content creators. Additionally, the recent funding round for Indian streaming platform Loco, lead by PUBG developer Krafton is yet another indicator of how important online gaming content platforms are in today’s world.
Today, platforms that seek to target gamers have evolved and include much more than just gameplay. They have emerged as big as social networks with millions of players logging in each day to not just play, but even connect with friends, express themselves & meet new people. The broader factors that have led to esports/gaming platforms becoming alternatives to traditional social media platforms are:
Engaging & Socially Immersive – More social interactions like real-time messaging, sending emojis, video content, images, voice/video chats, trading & live chat rooms are just some of the features that help make platforms like Discord the go-to place for gamers. With the addition of private and community servers, it’s extremely convenient for gamers to interact with close friends and make new ones.
Game integrations – It’s interesting to see how a lot of games are looking at novel ways to integrate different platforms into the experience. From something as simple as inviting people directly from platforms like Discord into your game to create a seamless social multiplayer experience to more complex integrations like viewers of a live stream being able to influence elements of a particular game.
Community Is Everything – Gaming is inherently social; from the days of being huddled around a single device with all your friends to hopping online and inviting friends into a private lobby or just hanging out in the various forms of social hubs that games are introducing today. It’s not just inside games, but the platforms like Steam, Xbox & PlayStation that we use to play our games that are hubs of interaction. There is an increased focus on providing spaces for groups, communities, forums, discussions to ensure that these are the go to places for gamers. This is further compounded by easy access to these platforms through their own mobile apps, so that your friends and communities are with you wherever you go, regardless of whether you’re at your PC or console.
The purpose of gaming platforms has effectively transitioned itself into a kind that goes much beyond gameplay. It has now become a social network with millions of daily active users who log on to not only play but also connect and converse with their friends, family, and strangers.
The author Ishaan Arya is the co-founder and head of business development at The Esports Club