How has the coronavirus affected e-sports?

The coronavirus, contrary to popular beliefs, has also affected e-sports.

Players in the middle of an e-sports competition

Virtual sports have grown in popularity, but have also suffered from the pandemic. / Photo: Wikimedia-EsportsNews

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo ha afectado el coronavirus a los e-sports?

At the beginning of the pandemic, more or less around this time last year, all the media were reporting how e-sports was having an unexpected boom due to the cancellation of conventional sporting events.

Although it is true that during those first weeks, virtual sports acquired incredible popularity, in the long run, the e-sports have also suffered . Let's look at some of the ways they have suffered.

Also read: South American footballers who emigrated to the Chinese league

The "Arcades", fighting to survive

The arcades have been, like any other business that requires constant amounts of customers, greatly affected by the pandemic.

For example, in Japan, Sega had to sell most of its arcades in November of last year due to the huge economic losses they were having.

It may seem that this does not directly influence the field of e-sports, but arcades have historically been places where professional "gamers" begin to be trained. They fulfill a function similar to that of the “neighborhood field” in soccer, an accessible and cheap place where anyone can start practicing their hobby.


Canceled events

Despite the fact that the vast majority of games that are e-sports can be played online, nothing can replace the physical connection of many consoles. This is because when playing online there is a certain delay between when a person sends a command and when it is executed on the screen. This delay may seem minimal to the normal person but it is significant for the esports professional.

This leads to the cancellation of face-to-face events and be repalced with online events that lose the “essence” of the competition. An additional factor is introduced that should not be in the competition: how good is the Internet connection.

Also, a significant part of the profits of the companies that produce these games also comes from the sale of tickets for events. This ends up affecting the players, who ultimately compete for what the companies can offer them. Keep in mind that esports are not so much a priority for companies as they appeal to casual gamers, so it is usually the budget that is cut first for many video game companies.

Lastly, the coronavirus has also led to the dissolution of several e-sports teams. Not to mention keeping them was never particularly profitable, the lack of events is deadly for team owners.