Right now, somewhere in China, bulldozers and crane operators are building a new theme park. It’s not the latest Lionsgate Park you’ve read about, centered around themed attractions based on movies like Hunger Games. Oh, it’ll have roller coasters and stuff. But this amusement park is different. It’s designed for gamers.
Esports have joined the big leagues, Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a recent report about the new subsection of the video game industry. China aside, the esports industry already has a larger audience than Major League Baseball.
Goldman estimates the monthly size of competitive esports gamers, 167 million as of year-end 2018, will hit 276 million by 2022, basing their forecast on a NewZoo survey.
“China has been ahead of the curve on this; all of Asia really,” says Menashe Kestenbaum, CEO of Enthusiast Gaming in Toronto. “If you see an arena jam-packed with gamers, it’s probably somewhere in China or South Korea,” he says.
Bill Coan, the CEO of ITEC Entertainment, the guys behind China’s gamer theme park now under construction in a “top secret location,” is predicting the future of the gaming industry, driven in part by esports. Picture arenas where gamers in bulky headphones are playing video games on large, concert-size screens against some of the best players in the world (who will have the cooler headphones).