Esports On The PlayStation: Is Sony Falling Behind?

by Palabar

Esports in 2023 is big business, no matter how you look at it. From lucrative brand partnerships with sports merchandising giants Nike and Adidas, to prime time broadcast coverage on ESPN — if you squint, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re watching an NBA game, rather than a League of Legends match.

At present, esports is actually the fastest growing category of sport in the world, even more so than the likes of cricket and even MMA. This is further corroborated by comparison platforms such as OddsChecker, which found esports to be its fastest growing category by betting volume in 2022. However, the esports industry—which is on track to break $3 billion in global revenue by 2027—remains disproportionately skewed towards both PC and mobile titles, with console titles seemingly caught playing catch up.

The reasons for this are manifold, including hardware fragmentation and a lack of widespread crossplay—a running legacy of the “console wars” which hampers the emergence of a true cross- platform console esports scene. A sizable part of the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of both Microsoft and Sony, who seemingly failed to see the writing on the wall with respect to the rise of esports in the 2020s.

Considering that the average gamer remains more inclined to play their home console, rather than invest in a costly and complicated gaming PC, this has opened up a gulf between spectator esports and the casual consumer-gamer. Fortunately, Sony is seeking to remedy this. A host of new and existing titles available on both the PlayStation 4 and 5 have enormous potential for positioning the platform as the final word in console esports.

Call of Duty: WWII – The Resistance DLC 3

Call of Duty League Challengers

We never knew we had it so good until it was gone—from the release of Black Ops III in 2015, right through to the conclusion of the 2020 season, the PlayStation was the home of the world’s most popular console-derived esports tournament, the Call of Duty League (CDL). 
Since then, the tournament has been contested on the PC, but this does not mean that PS gamers are out of the running entirely. CDL Challengers, the tournament’s feeder qualification series, is now available for crossplay. This means that PS4/5 gamers can still enter with the hopes of qualifying for the mainstream CDL, right from their console of choice.

Some analysts have raised questions about whether Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard could ultimately spell the end for not only the CDL on Sony’s platform, but the Call of Duty series itself—but the status quo is unlikely to change any time soon, irrespective of the franchise changing hands behind the scenes.

Gran Turismo 7 Review - 4

Olympic Esports Series 2023 Motor Sport Event

Polyphony Digital, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been collaborating since 2021 to make the PlayStation’s flagship racing sim the one and only officially sanctioned Olympic motor-esport. 
With the arrival of Gran Turismo 7 comes the announcement of the Olympic Esports Series 2023 Motor Sport Event, which will see an online time-trial take place from mid-April. The fastest qualifying players will then get the opportunity to participate in the first ever Olympic Esports Week to be held June 22–25, in Singapore.

This is a major coup for the platform and, at present, represents the jewel in the crown for large-scale institutional esports events on the PlayStation.

The FIFA eWorld Cup

The PlayStation 5 is the home of FIFA’s official eWorld cup. This event is notable for the number of real-world franchises that maintain an esports presence in the competition, including the likes of super-clubs Bayern Munich and Manchester City. 
There remains an open question as to whether the eWorld Cup will continue in the same capacity following EA Sports’ acrimonious split with FIFA following ongoing contractual pay disputes. 
Rumors that FIFA have been working with 2K Games on a successor series could bode well for the PlayStation, particularly as the official NBA 2K League also calls the platform home.

Related Posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More