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Initially published on Medium — July 21, 2016

It’s been four months, since I last updated my esports landscape. In a space that’s experiencing hyper growth, that’s a long time.


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What is esports?

Esports is competitive gaming. Competitive gaming and organized tournaments have been around for decades. However, major innovations in the space over the past couple of years, such as streaming platforms, have enabled the space to see an explosion in viewership and interest. To give some perspective, during the final match of the 2015 League of Legends World Championships, over 36M unique viewers tuned in. That is more unique viewers that the 2015 MLB World Series had.


Key Players



There are thousands of game publishers; however, for the sake of simplicity, there are only a handful of publishers that have successfully focused on competitive gameplay and reached a critical mass. Publishers play an extremely critical role in whether games will be played competitively as they have full control over gameplay, customizability, and the community involvement.

Without publishers, there would be no esports. They ultimately control all intellectual property and have fortunately allowed their gameplay to be streamed and recorded.

When mentioning gaming publishers, it is impossible to leave out the biggest player, Tencent. Over the past decade, Tencent has managed to acquire minority or majority stakes in some of the biggest Tier 1 gaming publishers.

Majority Stake: Riot Games (100%), Supercell (84%)

Minority Stake: Activision Blizzard (12%), Epic Games (48.4%)