NZ Esports these days is enjoying a period of expansion and growth. However, if you had told somebody at the turn of the 2000s that Esports would become a stadium-filling, multi-billion dollar international powerhouse by the second decade of the 21st century, you might have been understandably met with incredulity.
However, that's exactly what's happened around the world.
The New Zealand Esports scene is thriving and is rapidly gaining recognition as a legitimate form of competition and entertainment.
It has attracted a large and dedicated community of players, fans, and sponsors, who have helped to drive the growth and development of Esports in the country.
Esports, also known as electronic sports, refers to competitive video gaming where players compete against each other in organized tournaments and competitions, whether that be on specially crafted desktop computer battle stations or consoles.
Esports events and tournaments can be played online or offline, and often feature lucrative cash prizes for the winning teams and players.
These events can also attract large crowds of fans, who watch the competition live or via online streams, with many a game being available on streaming channels such as Twitch.
The games played in Esports stretch far and wide and include popular titles such as:
Esports is seen as a legitimate form of competition, with there now many an Esports tournament on a national and international scale, plus events that are regulated and governed by governing bodies such as the International Esports Federation (IESF) and the Electronic Sports League (ESL).
This has helped to establish Esports as a legitimate form of competition, with many players and fans taking the sport as seriously as traditional sports such as soccer and basketball.
The growth of technology and the internet has made Esports more accessible and convenient for people to participate in and watch.
For example, streaming platforms Twitch and YouTube have made it possible for fans to watch Esports events and competitions from anywhere in the world, while online gaming communities and matchmaking systems have made it easier for players to find and compete against each other.
The Esports industry in New Zealand is growing rapidly, with new leagues, teams and organisations such as the New Zealand Esports Federation and Hyperfibre League being established and more events and competitions being held.
This growth has been driven by a combination of increased interest in the sport and the rise of technology and the internet.
Several major companies, including telecommunications providers and gaming companies, have invested in the Esports industry in New Zealand, providing financial support and resources to foster rapid growth and development.
This has helped to establish a thriving Esports scene in the country, with many talented gamers donning the black jersey.
Perhaps the most stunning aspect of Esport's rise to the top is the statistics that emerged with it, some of them truly astonishing.
Let's load up a few.
According to recent data, the Esports gaming industry in New Zealand is worth millions of dollars and on a fast trajectory upwards.
In 2020, the total revenue generated by the Esports industry in New Zealand was estimated to be over NZD 50 million, with the number of fans and players expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
In terms of viewership, Esports events and competitions in New Zealand are attracting large audiences, with many of the events being broadcast live on popular streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.
The number of viewers tuning in to watch Esports events in New Zealand has been steadily increasing, with an event such as the League of Legends World Championship (especially if Faker is playing) attracting tens of thousands of viewers.
This highlights the growing perception of Esports not just as a sport that turns heads and generates numbers, but as a cultural tour-de-force.
Esports in New Zealand has come a long way over the past few years and is now a significant part of the country's entertainment and sports culture.
With the growth of the industry and the support of major companies and organisations, the future of Esports in New Zealand looks bright, and it is likely that it will continue to grow and attract more fans and players in the years to come.
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Noah Adams has a Masters in journalism from the university of Canterbury. He has held job positions in various media companies in New Zealand such as Bauer Media Group, The New Zealand Herald and TVNZ. Noah has for the past yea... Read more about the author