Rated one of the top 10 countries for e-gaming, Canada is home to some of the best players in the world. The country has over 348 competitive gamers participating in tournaments worldwide. Canadian players like Shroud, xQc, and TenZ have made legacies for themselves in the international gaming community. Canada is also home to 74 professional gaming teams. Some of the most well-known ones include Luminosity Gaming, Team NP, and Vancouver Titans.
Additionally, the BC city of Vancouver has also hosted one of the largest championships in the esports world. Vancouver also recently erected its own purpose-built gaming arena, The Gaming Stadium, in 2019. In 2018, the DOTA II International landed here for its annual MOBA smackdown. The 5v5 multiplayer gameplay has an unbelievable $25.5 million prize pool! In addition, the championship generated over $7.8 million for the local economy during its 6-day run.
What is eSports?
Short for electronic sports, esports is any organized gaming that can be incentivized into a competition involving multiple players. Gamers can compete in person or online for grand prizes. Along with other forms of gaming, esports directly supports around 182,500 jobs in Canada. Additionally, the tournaments for these titles also provide income to talents as diverse as streamers, broadcasters, event managers, sponsors, league hosts, developers, hardware manufacturers, and more.
eSports in Canada
According to reports, Canada ranks 8th globally as the top-earning country in esports. The leaders of the pack are the UK, China, and South Korea, having pulled in $138, $135, and $101 million, respectively. In comparison, Canadian players raked in a demure $27 million.
Fortunately, a government report shows that the esports industry in the country is expected to grow by 10% by 2024. Once a niche, esports is increasingly gaining mainstream traction as viewerships in tournaments and championships continue to rise. According to market data, over 1.5 million Canadians watch esports at least once a month. Since 2020, 61% of the population is also actively involved in gaming. In numbers, this translates into a 23 million-strong gaming community! Even educational institutions encourage this association with esports.
For example, in 2021, the Canadian Collegiate Esports League, a partnership of 12 Canadian universities, was launched to improve and cater to the country’s gaming scene. Other notable sports associations in Canadian educational facilities include the University of British Columbia Esports Association and the North American Scholastic Esports Federation. Expert college players can compete in events like the Canadian Collegiate Esports League.
These events are even accessible to high school-level players. For example, gaming operator PlayVS is available in Canadian schools and readily picks up students with the potential for professional play. These young players also have options to participate in events like the High School Esports League.
In short, online gaming is a hit in Canada. Whether they are actively behind the console or trying to beat the esports odds at online sportsbooks, the people here are all in on the adrenaline rush. This popularity is evidenced by the 6.8X surge in the demand for esports in the country between 2014 to 2018.
eSports Revenue in Canada
Additionally, the esports revenues in the country have crossed 1.1 billion USD, with a 26.7% yearly increase. By 2028, the figure is expected to grow at a rate of 14.5%. Canada’s penchant for gaming is also seen in the increasing number of developers investing in the nation’s tech hubs. For example, Vancouver alone is home to over 200 game-building studios. Some companies with a significant presence in Canadian esports are Microsoft Studios, EA, Nintendo, Sega/Relic Gaming, United Front Games, Take 2 Interactive, and more.
Toronto, Edmonton, and Montreal are other tech centres attracting significant attention from these developers. Bolstered by Canada’s investment-heavy policies, these organizations have rapidly expanded their VFX and R&D sectors into these hubs.
Rise in Popularity
The demand for online has also doubled during the lockdown periods. According to reports, up to 78% and 65% of adults state that playing games helped their mental health. This interest was reflected in the boom of streaming sites like Twitch, Youtube, and Mixer. These platforms disseminate gaming culture beyond its niche and make esports mainstream. Canadian streamers like 27-Year-old Félix’ xQc’ Lengyel are one of the most-watched players on these sites. A former professional Overwatch Tank player, he dominates the first-person shooter categories on Twitch. The steamer’s net worth reportedly reached $9 million in 2022, and he boasts about 524 million views on his streams.
Additionally, demands for gaming consoles also spiked during this period. Brands in Canada saw sales rise by 58%, with almost 250,000 units being sold in 2020. The same year, esports giant Garena purchased Vancouver-based Phoenix Labs as part of its plans to expand in Canada. The deal with the Singaporean gaming brand was finalized for an enormous $150 million. Canadian celebrities like Drake and The Weekend have also invested in several esports leagues.
The Canadian government, both at the federal and provincial levels, supports these expansions. The country’s administration is very enthusiastic about esports, and this is reflected in Canada’s policies.
For example, BC offers policies like the BC Interactive Media Credits, giving firms a 17.5% refundable credit on all qualified trained worker expenditures. Legislation like this incentivizes esports developers to invest in the country’s tech hubs. The economic commissions in major centres like Vancouver, Toronto, and Edmonton also play a significant role in organizing e-sport events. These efforts help foster a strong gaming culture in Canadians.
eSports Outside Canada
However, the popularity of esports is not restricted to Canada alone. Industry reports show that global viewership of gaming tournaments continues to rise by 8% every year. The viewer count for popular titles like Dota and Fortnite is expected to reach 577 million within the next two years. With the rise in investments, viewers, and general appeal, a day may come when esports overtake traditional sports in popularity.As an Amazon Associate, Icy Canada earns from qualifying purchases.
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