COVID has had an impact on various industries, but the inability of gaming enthusiasts to physically attend some of the most important events of the year has forced many of them to go virtual. Some of these include the European Gaming Congress and the SBC’s Barcelona summit. This has pushed many other events and major tournaments to go virtual as well, like the Overwatch League, for instance. Let’s take a look at some of the events that will be held virtually, and also look at the greater impact the pandemic could have on gaming events and the industry in general.
European Gaming Aims to Pioneer Virtual Conferences
European Gaming was the first to announce its plans to go fully digital. Central Europe’s leading gaming and gambling media platform announced back in March that their BGS Awards and Mare Balticum tournaments were to be postponed and replaced by the first virtual gaming conference in the industry’s history.
The first event, which was held back in May, was a resounding success. So much so that they’re set to repeat the experiment for their virtual version of the European Gaming Congress that will be held on the 7th of October. The conference will gather a wide variety of speakers and focus on gaming markets in Southern, Western, and Central Europe as well as talks on the current state of the industry and how it can adapt to changing times.
SBC Barcelona Summit to Be Held Digitally
The SBC Barcelona Summit, one of the most important in the gambling and gaming industry, will be held completely digitally. The event, which is set over 3 days, focuses on regulatory changes in the industry, and has a very important networking component to it, which should be interesting in a digital format.
This year’s summit will also focus on the future of the gambling industry. Senior executives for some of the biggest operators are set to take the stage to provide insight. People who attend the event will have access to six different conference tracks in the Gaming & Casino zone:
.Innovation and Technology
.Future of Gaming
Some of the things on the agenda include how the industry can address its biggest challenges, how to penetrate emerging markets, and predictions on how new technology will affect operators.
The Pandemic is Having an Interesting Impact on Player Engagement
It’s not all doom and gloom for the industry, however. Online casinos, for instance, have seen a large rise in engagement since the beginning of the pandemic. Software providers like Microgaming continue innovating on new projects. One of their latest games, 9 Masks of Fire, continues to be a huge success. This could be due to the fiery wins in the 9 Masks of Fire slot, or other driving factors that are accelerating existing trends in the industry.
One of the factors in favour of online casinos is that they do not require special hardware to be enjoyed. We were already seeing a shift towards cloud gaming before the pandemic, but online casinos have been operating under this model all along, which makes them a natural go-to at a time when mobile devices are getting better and mobile gaming is slowly catching up with console play.
What About eSports?
There is no doubt that the eSport industry is, and will continue to be, one of the most severely affected by the virus and its implications. Several events had to be postponed or cancelled, while others were able to go to an online model. However, just like in the case of pro sports, we don’t know if spectators will show as much enthusiasm and we can certainly predict that missing revenue from the gates will be a difficult blow to take.
However, one point in favour of the industry is that it’s mainly advertisement based. It is said that about 75% of all revenue generated from eSports comes from sponsors and luckily, many of these agreements were struck before the pandemic.
All in all, the impact on the industry should be somewhat limited, especially as live events begin to get reinstated. eSports have also benefited from dwindling interest in pro sports as eSports is much more adaptable to an audience free format.
Some broadcasters have turned to eSports events to fill the void left by cancelled events. Even associations like NASCAR were able to pivot to eSports with their iRacing series. So, while numbers might be down for eSports, this pandemic could do a lot to increase eSports’ value in the marketplace.
The COVID 19 pandemic is having a profound effect on the gaming industry in general. Gaming is a very dynamic field that thrives on innovation, and this could be the catalyst needed to push it to the next level.virtual version of the European Gaming Congress