As people were confined to their houses and travel came to a halt, the growth in the gaming industry came as no surprise. With more free time on their hands and an industry essentially digital in nature, adapting to the new normal was no industry.

We spoke to different esports entrepreneurs and founders within Southeast Asia to look back at the industry in 2020 to find out what exactly is going on.

To get a better sense of how the industry evolved and fared during these dark times, we asked them to give their view on esports in 2020.

Drew Holt-Kentwell, Catalyst esports

The founder and managing director of Catalyst Esports Solutions had a lot to share about the thriving industry. His company provides 360 brand development and vision for esports teams, brands looking to enter the esports market and more.

We previously named Drew as one of the 7 people making waves in esports in Southeast Asia

Esports and gaming in 2020 has thrived amidst uncertain and difficult circumstances globally, but Southeast Asia has no doubt seen a move towards a richer community and online experience across the board. This has been driven largely by the need to overcome obscure circumstances, and where team events and offline tournaments struggled prior, companies are having to get creative, break boundaries, and innovate.

We’ve definitely seen that, particularly where events have transitioned from offline to online – a great example locally would be what Singtel has done converting their normally offline, yearly PvP event, into a wholesale online experience with influencers, team tournaments, celebrity appearances and a manner of other unique integrations. The need to produce content of a higher quality is changing the space permanently, and the community has been better off for it.

Charlie Baillie, Ampverse

The co-founder & CCO of the esports entertainment company dove deep into the continuing trend of the industry moving into the mainstream.

2020 was the year that esports took a very significant leap to become a mainstream sport. We’ve seen esports viewership overtake that of a number of traditional sports and with more people staying in their homes as a result of the pandemic, that trend has accelerated further.

2020 was also the year that mainstream celebrities from across the worlds of music, sport, and fashion really leaned into esports, with the likes of David Beckham, Sergio Aguero and Post Malone all investing in the space to name just a few.

We will look back on 2020 as a transformational year in many ways globally, however, for esports in particular, it will be looked back as the year where esports seriously started its trend towards becoming the most valuable global sport or entertainment asset period – eclipsing that of any mainstream sport.

Michael Patent, Culture Group

The founder & president of Culture Group, a culture marketing agency, looked into the growth of the casual gaming industry and gaming in general during the pandemic.

2020 has seen the massive adoption of immersive technology, acceleration of IP partnerships, and huge increase in mainstream appeal of games and esports. 

Along with the pandemic, there has been a rapid rise in casual gaming, with more members of the mainstream being introduced to the world of gaming through games like Among Us. The world stayed connected through these simple, highly social online games and took over dominant game streaming platform Twitch to become one of the most viewed games of the year. 

The success of Among Us brought to light the blurring of lines between the gaming community and the mainstream; such that those not usually interested in esports and games were now also beginning to shift their attention to the space. 

We’re also finally beginning the global adoption of mobile, and Roblox’s end of year IPO will bring Wall Street’s attention to Cloud Gaming simultaneously highlighting the advancement of the metaverse and its adoption among demographic younger than that of top-tier games like Fortnite.

At Tech Collective, we want to know what you think defined esports in 2020. Share your thoughts in the comments or drop us a message. We’d love to hear from you and also share your thoughts and opinions with our community.