The huge popularity of at-home gaming has given rise to an increasingly lucrative out-of-home market for e-sports and gaming tournaments and competitions – sometimes with eye-watering prizes up for grabs – and has made multi-millionaire superstars out of some of the top gamers and YouTubers.
In response, advisor Savills has created a dedicated team that includes gaming specialists to try and better understand the opportunities for venues around the hosting of gaming events and what they need to do in order to capitalise on attracting both keen gamers and those new to e-sports.
“There is a huge amount of excitement around this but to create authentic events it is crucial for landlords and operators to understand the context and to ensure that they engage with people and businesses who understand what gamers are looking for,” says Nicky Wightman, Director of Global Occupiers Trends at Savills.
“It’s why we brought in experts from the sector, because we feel it’s vital to speak with an authentic voice. You have to see this from a broader perspective,” she says.
While the opportunities emerging from the major tournament market are outlined in Savills Leisure – Esports: The Disruption Game and will be discussed as part of the Leisure Day on 12 November, Wightman says that the challenge is to understand how their popularity might be harnessed at a scale and in formats that work in established shopping and leisure locations.
“This is a new and emerging sector and there aren’t a lot of examples out there to look at right now,” says Wightman. “That’s why it’s important to collaborate with the right partners and to look at how you can engage with both gamers – who might not be natural visitors to your destination – and to those who are new to gaming and might come along out of curiosity or to find out more.”
Wightman points to a number of bar, food and gaming outlet concepts that are beginning to spring up and also notes that gaming and other media like music have increasingly come together, taking a more blended approaches across channels and media types.
“You need to ensure that what you create is authentic and resonates with its audience,” she says. “It’s certainly not one-size-fits-all, so you need to look at what sort of eco-system you can put around an event, which might include accommodation, F&B and other existing digital services. On the one hand you’ll have visitors with a real passion for gaming, on the other those that are simply curious. Of course what’s really compelling for the landlord is that it’s a fantastic demographic. A really hard-to-reach audience.”