Future of Retailing in eSports
With seemingly endless potential, its growth unhindered by physical requirements, eSports gaming is earmarked to ‘spark’ the next golden era of untapped opportunities. With projected revenue of $1.6 Billion by 2021, this baby giant’s astronomical growth has been captivating investors and entrepreneurs alike. Businesses are cashing in on the new star industry, with mainstays like Twitch and ESL raking in millions per year. Computer gaming is becoming famous among all ages and is not restricted to being a past-time anymore.
E-Sports/Gaming and its organized competitive events are conducted by several local and international organizations around the world, and it is rapidly growing in size. The ecosystem behind eSports competitions is no different from traditional sports, with professional leagues, teams, coaches, broadcasters, and fans. This perfect concoction has led eSports to its meteoric rise.
Understanding Gaming in the 2000s
In Asia, LAN SHOP (cyber cafe) is a place-phase that most teens go through. With popular multiplayer option games such as CounterStrike and Dota, LAN shops were undoubtedly teens go-to destination after school hours. However, more people today are getting their own gaming desktops set up at home which allows them to play in the comfort of their own homes.
‘Why-go-LAN-when-you-can-play-at-home’ is a frequent stop sign amongst gamers. The days of cyber cafe gaming as a necessity are over thanks to how available and powerful personal computers are but it has not reduced gaming’s social appeal. It’s a situation similar to cinemas: “You might have the biggest television screen and top-line Bose speakers, but you will still go to the cinema with your friends.”
At SPARK, we decided to explored this rapidly growing industry and look for emerging social trends and opportunities – are existing brands capitalizing on these opportunities or will they be disrupted or diluted by new players moving into their space?
4 Insights and Opportunities in the realm of Gaming
1. Shrines to gaming
Esports has exploded in popularity over the last decade, and a huge part of that success is because it’s so easy to engage with from afar. Streaming, Discord, and Twitter put esports directly in fans’ homes. How can we bring the experience away from keyboards?
For example, the big players in sporting have tied themselves closely to the leading teams and players through sponsorships and by opened retail shrines to sports in major cities across the world.
Opportunities: Are the big brands in esports missing an opportunity to create similar destinations for their fans and the gaming community – that allow fans to be closer to their heroes, watch games with fellow e-sports fans, improve their own performance and get personalized advice on technique, trends, equipment and coaching.
What’s coming up next:
2. Pro-Gaming Retail
We see an opportunity to creating physical retail spaces that move beyond products on shelves and integrate a gaming experience with product testing and selection.
Insight: Just plugging devices into live games in stores to sample does not work – as we’ve all seen these are often hogged by a few so not experienced by many. Can this be done better with customised mini games that allow users to focus on product performance testing rather than full game play – (For gaming mouses, different mouse grips technique to weighted mouses)
Opportunity 1: Or should we be curating equipment and coaching in zones set up for different game type such as Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), First Person Shooter (FPS), Player vs. Player (PvP), Real-time Strategy (RTS)?
Opportunity 2: Or even creating dream set up for different types of gamer personalities? Or it could even be gaming set-up curated by pro-gamers?
- Stealth mode gamer … (quiet space)
- The loud players …. (a place to be loud)
- Semi serious players …. (a place to work but convert to game mode)
- Female players …. Perhaps somewhere less black – designed by female gamers for female gamers.
3. Gamer’s tribe
Insight: We tend to associate with others who have the same passions and beliefs as us – religion, sports, politics all play a role in defining our own identity and finding common ground a sense of community.
Being a gamer or esports athlete is no different. So who is driving the fashion and identity around this category – what do we identify with as esports fashion. Most sports have their own range of merchandise and clothing that fans can purchase and play in.
Opportunity: We don’t see this in esports currently and see it as a huge missed opportunity for those established brands. What’s an eSports fan attire and brand? What conforms to a gamer-centric clothing brand?
4. Pop Up Gaming Arenas
Insight: Retail and online gaming is counter-active. This is because (offline spaces) due to availability of gaming gears online and product reviews, this reduces the need to go to an actual store.
Opportunity 1: We see that the retail opportunity is to create something fast and exclusive that they cannot experience online, or integrated with online with a certain space.
Opportunity 2: Location exclusive merchandises. For example, participation in events to acquire certain skin/hero (ways to attract gamers to physical spaces).
Being clear about what the brand stands for, paying attention to how your customer interacts with space and keeping up to date with emerging technologies helps us create spaces that customers return to again and again.
SPARK are Retail Design and Customer Experience specialists, we look to the future to help businesses re-imagine their retail experiences and ensure they remain relevant to the consumer, building brand value and maximising the potential of retail spaces.
SPARK is a Singapore based retail design specialist, delivering unique and effective retail design solutions for its clients across the Asia Pacific Region.