21 Eylül 2016 Çarşamba

Brands New Playground

Electronic sports is, without doubt, one of the most popular topics in today’s world. Also known as eSports, electronic sports can also be defined as a digital sport which requires mental skills rather than physical. Some folks even consider this whole realm as a virtual chess board. In comparison to conventional sports, eSports demands cognitive rather than physical fitness, does not require large financial resources, can be accessed from anywhere in the world, easily facilitates people to competition via computer, handheld console, mobile and etc., either as a team member or individually. All in all, it is massively preferred by the young audience and that is exactly why it’s being launched as the next generation of sports. Rumor has it, eSports is likely to become a part of the Olympic Games by 2020.

According to Global eSports Market Report, this year eSports awareness will exceed over one billion people globally with a 36% increase with respect to last year. And by 2019 the figure is expected to exceed 1,572 billion (Newzoo, Global Games Market, 2016). In many countries, including ours, professional eSports teams have been founded and started competing in the tournaments. Many world-renowned sports channels such as ESPN, BBC, TBC etc., have already started covering eSport content.

With the rapid development of eSports, the in-game expenses are gradually increasing in Turkey as well as around the world. The figures have increased so high that it would only be fair to say that these games create their own economy. In-game spendings are made largely to improve the characters, to get new skills, and/or to upgrade to higher levels. Global eSports market expects revenues as high as $99 billion in 2016 (Newzoo, Global Games Market, 2016).

In Turkey, a total of 30 million players are expected to spend more than 750 million USD on computer games in 2016. In our country the average annual expenditure per player is 35.4 USD. Although this figure is relatively low with respect to that of other countries placed in the higher ranks in the list, it is not bad at all (Newzoo, Turkish Games Market, 2016).

One recent example to how popular eSports has become in our country this year is Turkey’s first Professional eSports League, the Championship League, organized under the collaboration of gnçtrkcll and Coca-Cola Zero. The League Of Legends (LoL) Grand Finale Turkey, a desktop game, was held on 13 August 2016 at Ülker Sports Arena and it was aired live on the internet and Digitürk Lig TV simultaneously.

So, while eSports and computer games are getting more and more trendy, we conducted a research on eSports and in-game spending tendency. The research was conducted among 320 men and women, with an age range between 16-34, who live in Turkey and own a desktop or laptop.

36% of the participants play online games. Most of the games spontaneously played are ‘League Of Legends‘, ‘Counter Strike‘, ‘DOTA‘, ‘Candy Crush‘, ‘Okey‘ and various soccer games. 4 out of ten participants play these games on daily basis. When asked how much time they spend on playing games, the interviewees have answered “1 hour or less”, or “2-3 hours”.

When we questioned e-sports, 30% of the participants had said that they know of the terminology. And the majority of those who know the terminology is males. When we asked those who know eSports whether they play any games that fall within eSports category, 50% said that they they did and the remaining 50% said that they did not. When we examined the most popular eSports games one by one we found that ‘CS-GO (Counterstrike-Go)‘ is the most played game which is followed by ‘Call of Duty‘ and ‘League of Legends‘. Other well-known games are ‘Knight Online‘, ‘WOW‘, ‘DOTA‘ and ‘Metin2‘. When asked about it, almost none of the game players could remember the brands sponsoring these games.

When asked if they made any in-game spendings, 43% of the audience who play these games answered affirmatively. More than half of the spending audience spend seldomly, others burn money ever so often. Bonus units and credit cards are commonly used for paying. “It becomes more fun when you pay”, “it takes longer for the game to progress when you don’t pay”, “paying facilitates the game” are some of the motives stated often by the paying gamers.

Non-spenders’ most common reason is “lack of necessity”. 14% of them indicated that they had no budget for spending money while playing games. Another 11% did not find it safe to make payments (online). When they were asked what would motivate them to spend money, non-spenders answered that they might spend some “to acquire diverse character features”, or “to enhance power”.
Another section of our research was devoted to Pokemon Go, the most popular game of the recent times. Pokemon Go, with prospective added features, is a candidate to become one of the most popular eSports games in the near future, yet only 12% of the interviewees play it. The ones who play are in the 19-30 age group. The number of people above the age of 30 who play Pokemon Go is low. When we asked the Pokemon Go playing audience whether they they spend any money while playing, only 5% of the players said that they did.

When we asked about the reasons why to the group of people who didn’t want to spend any money for the game, the most frequent answers were, “lack of necessity”, “that they chose to improve the features by themselves” and then “lack of safety”. On the topic ‘what qualities would be worth spending money’, we received answers along the lines of “in order to locate the pokemons”, and “in order to own more powerful pokemons”. However, the interviewees also emphasized that they wouldn’t spend money for a mobile game.

18% of the interviewees have spent money on any given game regardless of eSports. When we asked which games these are, the most frequent answers were ‘Heartstone‘, ‘Clash of Kings‘, ‘Knight Online‘, ‘Clash of Clans‘ and ‘League of Legends‘. These gamers mostly paid “to enrich the game “, “to level up”, “to get a new character”, “to acquire premier membership”, and “to get costumes and enliven the game”. The gamers who were reluctant to spend money suggested “they didn’t need to”, and they found it more meaningful to advance in the game using their own skills only.
16% of the interviewees have paid to download an application or to upload a newer version in the past.

These results show us the ‘gaming trend’ is ever-increasing. Especially in the field of eSports, we see that both awareness and in-game spending ratio is fairly high. If or when Pokemon Go, one of the most played games around the world, is recognized to be an eSports game, in-game spendings for Pokemon Go will also be increasing gradually. With the next generation, it wouldn’t be a false projection to predict that the percentage of online gaming and paying gamers are likely to increase significantly in Turkey, in the years to come. This means that an opportunity presents itself for the brands who want to engage with their consumers. We can see some of the major brands whose focus is on technology and/or on the youth segment, are already aiming for this domain. Above all, it is obvious that more brands will want to take part in the field of eSports in a wide array of ways, especially if becoming a part of the Olympic Games happens.

We’re telling you...just so you know!

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