None of the eSport teams in the world have actually managed to attain the same hype and reputation the Fnatic eSport team have secured for themselves. Originating back 16 years ago, the team was made up from a project that a mum and son had managed to create and bring life to, in the land down under. Of course, as the years went by, it now has over 55 million fans. Of course, to reach the stage and platform they have today, they rely purely on sponsorships and brand endorsements. So, it would not be unusual to see the team geared up from head to toe, in the latest groovy get-ups from Gucci, to Adidas etc. Currently this team of eSport gamers, are known to have the largest stronghold in the world and counting.
While eSports teams such as Fnatic have only been in for the past decade, sport betting platforms such as Sports Bet, have racing odds and many other fixtures that have reigned and been in the gambling market for much, much longer than that.
The Revolution of eSports
The gaming industry has always been very competitive, with many competitors all competing for the limelight, you would think it hard for team brands like Fnatic, managing to reel in a profit. Yet indeed they do. The industry now is believed to have increased by $1 billion in net value within growing markets. Of course, where there is growth, there are also challenges. That is of no doubt.
The COVID pandemic has put a strain on all businesses, yet most of the gaming industries that operate online have seen a sky rocket in viewership and participation. In Australia alone, there has been an approximately 50% increase in the viewership models. All of this of course comes purely from avid gamers. The youths these days have always shown a far stronger interest in eSports and general gaming than your usual sports; it’s estimated that as the years go by, online sports gaming tournaments will overtake physical sports participation by a mile. Is this normal? Well, supposedly yes, it is. Generation after generation it has just increased in popularity. Do we need to even mention how much easier it is to play online than in the physical world?
Large business men have considered to invest in the eSports realm-especially now in the most challenging period of time these days, the pandemic. The statistics show that now would be the best time for it, as traffic to and from is only growing, audience wise. Mr Harris is one of the many examples of Australia business savvy men, who have invested into the industry. First within 2015, and now even further within 2020. He explained that his investments initially came from rapid light bulb moments, of realizing the value online sports actually has within the community. For its convenience and relevance, it is a definite smart move indeed.
Not Just International
Across the world there have been developments too. Many eSport gamers across the world have managed to step up their prominence within the industry. Of course, we know of Fnatic, but there are many more local examples that are currently working their way up to recognition. Kellyville has been projected as the future for eSports . With their pro-elite champion status online, they will soon make appearances across Australia for local tournaments and initiatives. They are already dominating leader boards online and have done multiple interviews where they have shown the inner workings of their work gaming set up at home.
A typical professional work setup would entail having dark rooms and fluorescent lights, to minimize the light glare that often hits monitors in daylight. In addition to this, gamers will have a fridge filled to the top with energy drinks, to continuously be able to stock up and revitalize as they play. It has definitely become a lifestyle to many and with so much time spent at home due to the pandemic, there pretty much is a good reason to be now too!
Match Fixing Regulation
Many brands in eSports have increased in activity and profits, as we all know. However, match fixing fraud has become an issue that has increased just as much too. The ESIC have commented on how there are over 100 reports a day of match fixing within the industry, yet due to the rapid growth, there still has not been enough resources provided to tackle the huge level of fraudulent activity that needs attention and looking into. It is for that reason that many are actually left to mull and not necessarily given the time and attention investigation-wise, that they deserve.
Brand relations that are now making headlines for Fnatic, include many of the latest brand endorsements such as Gucci, and luxury car brand design teams. However, the issue here is that Fnatic have mentioned an investor that approached them of late as a match fixer and investor. They purposefully wanted Fnatic to lose to certain matches for betting purposes. While this well-known group has made it known, there will be many out there that are tempted and will not be so honest. So, the question that must be asked here is, when will it be the time that eSports got the strict regulation regime and resources it deserves?
Not all eSports teams will come with a set of morals and the issue is, how will fans and supporters distinguish between the criminals and the genuine teams out there, as the industry keeps growing significantly? Of course, if you are caught, you are basically risking your money and time, as you will be loaded with huge fines and possible jail-time. However, that is if you are caught. Which is not always likely unfortunately.
Last year alone, many eSports gamers were caught and charged for their match fixing. One group in particular took headlines in the outer districts of Australia, after being caught with multiple offences to their name. Unfortunately, it will not just stop there.
The police unit involved with Sporting Intelligence at Victoria Police mentioned that the lack of education is the reason as to why criminals become so easily influenced by this side of fraud. It will be necessary for increased educational resources by the official eSports associations to be released, so that all can be aware of what is and what is not acceptable.
Tournament organizers and publishers such as Valve and Riot have been blamed for not setting a safer and sustainable standard and that they are in fact responsible for providing the education that players need in the long term. However, they are yet to comment on their responsibilities and contributions as of yet.