Esports win out, even in football-loving Newcastle
New research by Life Science Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne has revealed that young adults spend nearly twice as much time watching other people play video games competitively – known as esports – than viewing traditional sports, such as football.
The findings are announced as the finals for the FIFA eWorld Cup kicked off this morning at the O2 Arena in London.
The survey analysed the sport spectating habits and preferences of visitors to Life Science Centre whilst they explored Game On 2.0 – an exhibition about the past five decades of computer gaming featuring more than 150 playable games, including FIFA 19 for the Xbox.
It revealed that 18-35-year-olds who play video games at least once a week watch on average 1.9 hours of esports per week compared to only 1 hour of traditional sports.*
Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of Life, said: “Our team had seen reports that esports are more popular than traditional sports for young adults. With the arrival of the Game On 2.0 exhibition to Life, we wanted to put that claim to the test – surely it wouldn’t be true here, in football-loving Geordieland?
“I am astonished by the findings. It seems to indicate that the already booming gaming industry will continue to grow and that’s good news for the North East. There are many vacancies in the region already waiting to be filled by science and technology graduates. I hope many of our visitors are inspired to become the game developers of the future.”
Jake Simpson, 21, who lives in Consett and played for Newcastle United in the inaugural ePremier League tournament held in London in March, said: “The Premier League getting involved with FIFA esports shows how far it has come in the past few years. In addition to Twitch, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, the two-day finals of the ePremier League was broadcast live on Sky Sports. Having it broadcast on such a mainstream sports platform, alongside all the traditional sports, is a huge step in the right direction for esports, showcasing it to new audiences.”
While many esports tournaments are established, including the FIFA eWorld Cup and the recent Fortnight World Cup, in future years we could see the blending of esports and traditional sports in multi-event competitions.
The research conducted by Life also showed that from a survey of more than 200 adult visitors, of all ages, 25% said they think esports should be included as an event in the Olympic Games, with only 57% responding that it shouldn’t be included.**
In a statement released in December 2018, the International Olympic Committee said “the Olympic Movement should not ignore [esports] growth, particularly because of its popularity among young generations around the world” and that “competitive gaming entails physical activity which can be compared to that required in more traditional sports”.
*60 people in the survey aged 18-35 years who reported watching video games at least once a week answered questions on how many hours they spend watching esports and traditional sports each week.
**204 people answered the question ‘Do you think esports should be included in future Olympic Games?’. 25% responded ‘yes’, 57% ‘no’ and 18% ‘unsure’.