FEED Spring 2021 Web

he esports industry has yet to experience the cash-haemorrhaging cybercrime that is the daily reality for producers of filmed entertainment and conventional sports broadcast. Let that be a warning. With the value of its product rising

Even a decade ago, esports was largely played by amateurs. While the ecosystem of leagues and tournaments has grown along with a professionalism and popularity that will likely see it badged as an official Olympic sport by 2024, one area still lags behind. Esports’ Achilles heel is its vulnerability to pirates, hackers and cheats. The situation today mirrors that of the early days of digital sports broadcasting, with an industry naïve to the points of entry for pirate attacks or how sophisticated those attacks can be. STOLEN STREAMS, STOLEN REVENUE ‘Stream ripping’ is one of the biggest threats to esports revenue. Pirates retransmit live broadcasts to steal viewers – and steal ad revenue. Since the vast majority of revenue (roughly 70-80%) for esports organisations comes from sponsorships and advertising, stream ripping can be catastrophic. DRM (digital rights management) is the first line of defence for streaming video piracy prevention.

fast, it is only a matter of time before competitive video gaming comes under the same serious and sustained attack from content pirates. It is time for the industry to make a pre-emptive strike. The global video gaming industry saw revenue surge 20% to $179.7bn in 2020 after Covid-19 lockdowns boosted demand, according to IDC data. The inexorable rise of mobile gaming, next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft and the global trend for home entertainment has fuelled this remarkable growth. Yet the greatest contributor is the flourishing esports sector, which Newzoo analysts expect will have an audience of 646 million by 2023.

Why esports needs professional content protection at scale before it’s too late


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