Esports have never had it so good. Although competitive video gaming hasn’t proven entirely invulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic, it isn’t doing so bad out of it either. With mainstream sports around the world on hold, people are increasingly turning to gaming to fill the empty hours of lockdown and isolation.
The playing of video games is up – Verizon reported that US domestic peak-hour usage was up 75% in the first week of quarantine – but tellingly gaming as a spectator sport is also through the roof. Twitch, one the world’s biggest streaming platforms for gamers, is estimated to have grown its audience by up to a third in March alone. “With more stay-at-home mandates being issued around the world and the entertainment industry finding new ways to migrate their offerings to livestreaming platforms, we expect to see these numbers rise,” says Doron Nir, the chief executive of StreamElements.
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