George Brasher, HP's UK & Ireland MD, writes an exclusive opinion piece for Esports News UK about how HP is innovating in gaming hardware and why the brand is aggressively targeting esports.
Last year, esports events sold out stadiums across the world, from the massive ESL Pro League Season 5 finals in Dallas to the huge crowds at esports League One in Cologne.
And the 2017 League of Legends World Championships in China was watched by more than 60 million viewers. That’s more than every game of the 2017 Stanley Cup and the deciding game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals, combined. The face of professional competition has changed.
The speed of adoption of esports is unprecedented and it’s led by a new breed of sports stars. A study by Professor Ingo Froböse at the German Sports University in Cologne, found that esports athletes’ hand-eye co-ordination parallels that of professional table tennis players and during gameplay, their pulse is comparable to that of a marathon runner.
So, can esports now be considered seriously in the sporting world, or is it ‘just a game’? Well, global awareness is expected to grow 50% to 286 million by 2020 and leading universities in the US, including Harvard and UCLA, now offer esports as a varsity sports program.
Others are even starting to award esports scholarships – for example UC Irvine in California offers scholarships for League of Legends and Overwatch, a game with whom OMEN by HP has a long-term sponsorship deal, up to and including the 2018 Overwatch World Cup. Talks are even underway to have esports instituted as a medal sport in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
As major new sports emerge, they create with them huge market opportunities.
The brands that innovate and offer the most cutting-edge experiences and equipment will lead the marketplace.
"Our new line-up is packed with features to give esports athletes the edge and confidence needed to perform at the highest level."
As gamers enter increasingly prestigious tournaments, the stakes get higher and higher. They need the latest technology to dominate the game.
In just 18 months after entering the market, HP has become a major player in gaming hardware having recently reported our sixth consecutive quarter of year-on-year PC shipment growth, taking back the top spot in the market.
We’re innovating in every area of gaming hardware with the updated portfolio of OMEN by HP gaming products, announced in June 2017.
Re-designed and re-engineered from the ground up, the new line-up is packed with features to give esports athletes such as Julia "Juliano" Kiran, top-ranked CSGO player, the edge and confidence needed to perform at the highest level.
As well as including the highest optimum graphics and processing engines, we have developed a flagship VR offering to match the growing demand for augmented and virtual reality solutions in the market.
Moving forward, hardware and software innovation will set alight the PC gaming market, currently valued at £24 billion, a figure almost £5 billion higher than predicted at the start of 2016, and rising rapidly.
By 2020, global esports revenue is set to have surpassed $1.29 billion and considering the plethora of exciting platforms, games and opportunities for fan involvement, it has the potential to become the first sport with true universal appeal.
As its meteoric rise continues apace, the doubters have been silenced – esports is here to stay, for everyone. Let the gaming commence.