Fuelling the growth of esports is not just a matter of promoting players and teams – it’s also about identifying the projects designed to bolster the framework of the industry and create innovative new solutions.
Increasingly, a new range of emerging technologies are being used to explore new opportunities for the industry. Here are some of the most significant.
While most people with a passing knowledge of emerging technologies will most likely have heard of blockchain, relatively few actually understand what it is, or how it works. Put simply, the blockchain is a decentralised digital ledger that is used to securely store and verify information – a transaction record or a document, for example.
There are a number of potential uses for this technology within esports, many of which are already being explored as the industry looks for new ways to professionalise and monetise. Blockchain powered platforms for streamlining recruitment and managements processes have sprung up, and it could also be used for players to upload personal profiles that they can then carry across multiple games to begin building and establishing an industry reputation.
Meanwhile, blockchain platforms like the one created by the startup Bountie allow players to host their own, small-scale tournaments – an important step towards monetising the amateur levels of esports without leaving them open to cheating, or even fraud. Currently, only a tiny percentage of the very top esports players stand to gain financially from their efforts.
In recent years, wearable technology has completely revolutionised traditional sports, with athletes and their trainers using wearables to gather biometric data and improve performance accordingly. They’ve not been as quick to catch on in esports, however, due to the very different skillset required by professional gamers – but this could be set to change in 2019.
The Australian tech firm HUMM technologies have just developed a new type of wearable headband that measures the sets of biometric data relevant to esports players – heart rate, eye movements, and even cognitive patterns. This data could be used to calculate the focus and stress levels of players during a game, and map this data onto the games being played – a potentially significant addition to practice and training sessions. Venture Beat have also argued that it could help to prevent burnout among players – a real and pressing issue, given that many esports players are forced to retire by their early 20s.
The immersive possibilities of VR have long been of interest to video game developers, as it opens up new possibilities to place players inside the virtual worlds of the games they play. This same technology is being explored for esports, but with an additional twist – last year, several tech firms joined forces to broadcast the IEM World Championship to spectators as an immersive, 360-degree VR environment.
This could prove to be a huge boost to epsorts’ unique global reach, as players and spectators from across the globe come together for immersive virtual tournaments.
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