eSports is apparently a thing – and it will be a huge thing in 2017

Credit: Roman Kosolapov /

When the top prediction for 2017 involves something you have never even heard of you have to start worrying about age, mental health, that kind of thing. eSports, it turns out, will be huge next year.

eSports, for anyone like us who has been asleep for the last year or two, is “the competitive playing of video games, at a professional level.”

Who knew?

According to the recent webinar hosted by Juniper Research, eSports viewership will outstrip that of many major sports finals, with 248 million unique viewers in 2017. The research firm predicts that subscription revenues will hit over $556 million and advertising revenues will reach $290 million next year.

Setting aside the eSports revelations, it was a useful hour’s presentation. Windsor Holden was candid enough to present what they got wrong last year. “We enter the era of hybrid console and cloud gaming” was one and “crowdfunding fires start up growth” was the other.

There were also some that they got very right, including the penetration of blockchain into the financial community, the turning point for VR and the race to 5G truly beginning.

As for the coming year (apart from the eSports thing) there were some familiar items in the list of the top ten predictions.

At number 10, “Bots are Hot!” The firm believes that functionality is now at a level that will push chatbots into the mainstream, citing Facebook’s Messenger as a front runner, and referencing WeChat as an innovator in the field.

Interestingly, amongst the 10 was the prediction that 2017 will be the year that autonomous driving legislation commences. Obviously, this legislation has already commenced, but they believe that the goal for 2017 will be a co-ordinated framework. At the moment, legislation is a patchwork affair. Interestingly, Apple, who Juniper believes will launch relevant software next year, has just written to the NHTSA to urge speed with testing and rule making.

Other predictions make perfect sense. It will, according to the firm, be the year of the battle of voice assistants, of merger activity for challenger banks, of “insurtech” disruption, of VR content creation and the year that blockchain moves meaningfully beyond the financial sector.

And, apparently, the year that eSports becomes a thing. A big thing, at that.

There is a white paper that you can download here.

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