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The global esports economy will reach nearly $1 billion in 2018, according to NewZoo, a market intelligence and research firm that focuses on gaming, with a lot of that growth coming from two distinct areas: the U.S. and China.

Expand chart
Data: Newzoo 2018 Global Esports Market Report; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Esports has become a massive business in the U.S., and is expected to nearly double in U.S. revenue by 2021, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

  • Popularity has exploded in the States, in large part due to live streaming platforms, like Twitch, as well as YouTube, that can connect gamers instantly.

In China, more sophisticated technologies and culture trends around esports have helped bolster their market.

"Gaming in China is a micro economy around franchises, regardless of where game stems from ... We’ve made leagues out of esports franchises, even reality shows ... The hardcore user in the US is the mild user in China."
— Humphrey Ho, managing partner at Hylink, China's largest independent digital advertising agency

Ho sites several major factors to the rising esports time spentin China, including the culture of loneliness and long commutes in China that drive people to spend more time on gaming, and specifically, mobile gaming.

  • Big Tech, like Tencent and Alibaba, also provide more sophisticated gaming experiences for users, because they are able to use cross-platform promotions and social engagement (ie - talk with friends about games on WeChat while playing them), to follow a gamers' tracks throughout the day.

For kicks: Booming esports market opens window into Chinese culture.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.