Desperate to hold onto console gaming customers Sony is now going after PC gaming fans as sales of consoles are swamped by gamers switching to PC gaming.
Over the past two years, the Japanese electronics and entertainment group has made a push into esports in an effort to get PC gamers to buy Sony games
Attracting big audiences esports is big with gamers with Sony moving to acquire a string of acquisitions via Sony Interactive Entertainment who earlier this year agreed to buy esports tournament portal Repeat.gg, where players, the company says, “get paid to play.” The Company has not revealed how much they paid.
According to Nikki Asia Repeat.gg hosts multiplayer tournaments for Fortnite and other popular games.
The company says it has held over 100,000 tournaments with more than 2.3 million participants.
A newcomer to esports Sony has tried to host PlayStation-exclusive tournaments that allow players to compete against each other for prizes.
But with poor demand Sony has now broadened its approach by buying up PC gaming events.
In March last year, Sony Interactive Entertainment and a U.S. partner bought EVO, an esports platform that mostly hosts fighting games.
Sony has also extended sponsorships of esports tournaments across the globe.
Last year, more than 465 million people watched esports, according to Kadokawa ASCII Research Laboratories.
The Tokyo-based data provider estimates viewership will grow to 577.8 million people in 2024.
The market for esports will expand to $1.6 billion in 2024, up from just over $1 billion last year, said Kadokawa.
Video games have “changed from a single-player phenomenon to a spectator sport watched on YouTube and other platforms,” said Hideki Yasuda, senior analyst at Toyo Securities. “Earnings won’t grow on esports alone, but there’s a significant advertising component that can directly lead to sales promotion and purchases among consumers.”
Sony has also moved to sell their own brand of PC gaming gear called Inzone that includes computer screens and headphones.
Nikki Asia claims that the problem for Sony is that in Japan where the Sony brand is still strong there is only 5 million hard-core PC gamers, which is fewer than owners of the PlayStation and other home game systems.
The market for people watching others playing video games using a PC is far bigger and Sony is now concerned that demand for console gaming and console games could fall significantly with brands such as Alienware, Acer with their Predator, Lenovo and MSI could gain market share at the expense of both Sony with their PlayStation consoles and Microsoft with their Xbox.
Last month, Sony and ad agency Hakuhodo started hosting a series of esports matchups in Japan collectively called “The Gaming Days.” Participating gamers face off against each in Valorant, a first-person shooter developed by Riot Games.
Commentators in Japan claim that Sony’s multipronged move into esports suggests a desire to avoid resting on the success of the PlayStation.
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