Industry Opinion: Being a champion at your desk

AOC and MMD’s Paul Butler considers the rise in popularity of esports and how this is fuelling the demand for gaming hardware.

Competition in gaming is nothing new, but it has never been tougher than now. I remember the days of humble LAN parties, which have long transformed into million-pound prized tournaments that attract an abundance of viewers. But did esports fare well during the pandemic? Well, even before the pandemic, esports had been growing rapidly already, with events that filled stadiums and audience sizes that easily rivalled traditional sports tournaments. Today, the global esports market revenue ($1.084 billion in 2021) is comparable to significant sport organisations such as F1 or the UEFA Champions League.

With AGON by AOC, we witnessed how gaming became more accessible than ever. Just as in any other sport, watching pro players compete at the highest level in the games I’m playing myself is thrilling. In fact, the esports audience covers not only Gen Z, as some might assume, but a much wider community with 30% being 25-34 years old, and 35% up to 65 years old.

As an avid fan of racing games myself, I definitely see the appeal – and it’s no wonder to me that esports has grown to its current popularity. It is accessible, makes it easy to track your progress, and lets you see if you’re fit for the competition or are even able to join a professional esports team. On top of that, the esports community is known to be very welcoming, ready to adapt and embrace new challenges.

The pandemic proved exactly that. It had a devastating effect on so many other sectors, but not on esports. Unlike other segments of sports and entertainment, where events had to be cancelled or played without fans, esports continued online and even grew significantly in popularity and fan base. A survey from June showed that 66% of the respondents in the UK spent more time watching esports since the pandemic, second largest after Spain with a whopping 70% increase. The worldwide audience of esports also grew to 474 million viewers in 2021, and is forecast to reach 577 million by 2024.

As the esports community continues to grow, so do expectations and hopes for gaming hardware. The evolution of technology is extremely fast and it is very interesting to be a part of it. It’s almost funny to think that in gaming displays, only a couple of years ago, a 144Hz refresh rate used to be top-notch – and today it constitutes the mere entry level for anyone who wants to play games seriously. Instead, 240Hz is the go-to for esports enthusiasts. And expectations will only rise. As gaming hardware specialists, we at AGON by AOC love this challenging atmosphere and enjoy riding this wave of innovation – and have therefore recently overhauled the entire branding and portfolio.

We recently announced a dedicated category for esports players and professionals, the AGON PRO line up, to provide major leaguers with the most outstanding gear on the market. It is crucial that players are not held back by their equipment but encouraged and supported – so they can showcase their skills, strategy and teamwork.

Watching esports teams enable and empower each other also inspired the team at AGON by AOC to massively expand our portfolio to provide an entire gaming ecosystem. With all components, from mouse to monitor, meticulously fine-tuned and adjusted to one another, we aim to provide the smoothest gaming experience. Just like a well-matched and well-attuned team, every component of a gaming setup provides its part to the whole system – to then produce results that exceed the capabilities of its individual parts.

These times might be challenging but for the gaming industry it is an invitation to grow and exceed what we previously thought was possible. It’s a great time to be part of this community and even better to provide excellent gear for every single player in it.

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