Sony Interactive Entertainment has taken a bold step into the world of competitive gaming with the launch of its own Esports channel on YouTube.
The new PlayStation Esports channel has already caught the imagination of many Esports gamers and viewers, with the channel focusing exclusively on Esports events, covering interviews and features with professional gamers, highlights of recent competitions, and exclusive content surrounding PlayStation-based Esports games.
There has long been a strong appetite for streaming and viewing Esports games and personalities through platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. According to Newzoo, competitive Esports titles like Dota 2 attract more than a third of the market share of Esports traffic on Twitch. This equates to almost 50 million viewing hours.
Even competitive online card games like poker, which many argue carries similar characteristics to Esports titles like Dota 2 and League of Legends, get hundreds of thousands of viewers for the biggest tournaments. The poker industry is another that’s brimming with fun and vibrant personalities. Many of them play the game professionally and have their own YouTube and Twitch channels to live stream the online events they participate in. Online poker has a packed calendar of multi-table tournaments, many of which carry huge guaranteed prize pools. Some poker streamers will also showcase their cash games too, especially those at the biggest blinds and buy-ins.
PlayStation Esports is the first array of Esports content for Sony. Although it might not sound like a big deal, it really is when you consider the potential reach of Sony as an Esports expert. Within just a few weeks, PlayStation Esports has secured almost 17,000 subscribers on YouTube. That figure is sure to multiply as awareness of the channel continues to spread.
Examples of video content on the PlayStation Esports channel
The PlayStation Esports channel has provided a peak behind the curtain into some of the most popular Esports tournaments in the world. It recently ventured to Las Vegas to cover the Evolution Championship Series (EVO) 2022, including the experiences of 20 competition winners who won a trip to ‘Sin City’ to compete across a host of fighting games, including Bandai Namco’s long-awaited Tekken 8 – the sequel to the excellent Tekken 7, King of Fighters XV, and Street Fighter V. Some of the competition winners even went on to win gold medals, demonstrating the possibilities in the competitive gaming world even for casual gamers at home.
There’s also a fascinating interview with female Esports gamer and personality Miss Lola, who is a keen NBA 2K player. This video forms the first part of the channel’s ‘Women in Gaming’ series, aiming to make competitive gaming more accessible to females worldwide. The channel also has introductory videos explaining how to enter and compete to win prizes in Esports tournaments on both the PS5 and PS4.
Other Sony forays into the world of Esports
Sony has acknowledged the need to immerse itself in the fast-growing Esports industry. One of its biggest moves in the competitive gaming scene was purchasing the Evolution Championship Series (EVO). In 2021, Sony acquired the franchise in partnership with Esports organization ETS, founded by sports marketing firm Endeavor. Given Sony’s long association with competitive fighting games, it seemed like a natural fit for PlayStation to remain at the heart of the EVO community.
In 2022, Sony also decided to launch its very own gaming hardware brand, INZONE. Aimed largely at competitive Esports players, INZONE’s range covers a string of premium quality gaming headsets and monitors compatible with PS4 and PS5 systems.
INZONE was quick to partner with the Evolution Championship Series, bringing mutual benefit for both brands. It has since expanded its partnerships, including a tie-up with UK-based Esports organization Guild Esports, as well as the official VALORANT Champions Tour.
Esports tournament portal Repeat.gg was also targeted by Sony in 2022, with the Japanese firm investing in the platform to broaden its suite of Esports offerings. Repeat.gg grew rapidly into one of the biggest competitive Esports platforms, allowing players from around the world to lock horns to try and win cash prizes. One of its most impressive features is the asynchronous tournaments, enabling players to compete against one another without having to be online simultaneously.
Steven Roberts, vice president of global competitive gaming at Sony, insisted at the time of its acquisition of Repeat.gg that the company’s “vision” for the Esports industry had always been to “break down barriers.” It’s seemingly on a journey to enable casual and serious gamers alike to compete on any level.