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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : August 25, 2016

eSports' social following growing faster than traditional sports

The 2016 Gaming Report from Adobe Digital Insights reveals the huge rise in social media mentions of augmented and virtual reality in the last 18 months by gamers, yet shows that marketers are being slow to pick up on the trend.

by Helen Leggatt

Adobe Digital Insights analyzed more than 20 million social interactions between June 2015 and July of this year, and 2.5 billion visits to retail gaming and gaming-related websites from January 2015 to July 2016, to gain an insight into user conversations about topics such as esports and augmented and virtual reality technology. Sources analyzed included Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram and YouTube.

The findings (slideshow) reveal a massive uptick in mentions of the technology - a 548% increase on Twitter alone since January 2015. Furthermore, between Q1 2016 and Q2, social mentions of four names synonymous with virtual reality increased 14% (Oculus, HoloLens, Playstation VR and HTC Vive). Individually, HTC's Vive mentions are surpassing Oculus, HoloLens, and PlayStation VR by a significant margin. The Vive saw a 115% increase from the first quarter of 2016 to the second whereas Oculus decreased by 3%, HoloLens decreased by 20%, and the PlayStation VR down 63%.

"While we are seeing an uptick in social mentions of VR/AR devices related to gaming, we're not yet seeing the same uptick from marketers," said Becky Tasker, managing analyst at ADI.

"The takeaway for marketers, especially those in the software/technology industry, is that it might pay off to allow potential customers to test technology before it is released to the masses. That could even apply to an advertising campaign. Think of all the useful feedback the gaming companies get when they have open betas for their games; now think about how much a brand could benefit from that type of feedback when launching a product, service, or campaign to ensure it really resonates with the audience."

Adobe's findings also reveal that the social following of esports is growing faster than almost all other traditional sports. The social following of esports is now larger the National Football League, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball and trails behind only the National Basketball Association.

"Esports had a 57% annual growth rate in followers, meaning it is growing faster than those other sports," Tasker said. "Esports will be a winner in the next couple of years in following, fandom, and excitement. It's ever-growing and morphing, while traditional sports are static."

Tags: AR, gaming, marketing, social, technology, trends, VR trends

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