Although esports are not something new for the rest of the world, for LATAM esports is a door that has not been opened widely for a long time and has created a moderated impact on Latin American society.
In this article we will focus on both the economic impact of esports, and a bit of historical background to be able to give some needed context.
Let’s remember something very important; Latin America has always been one step behind the rest of the world and therefore behind on globalization, industrialization and technology. This lag has been in addition to economic-political crises. And gaming has not been the full extent of how esports affects society.
Let’s start with the market offer, from the beginning, computers have been on the market to evolve widely. Little remains of that initial idea in which their only purpose was only to process data, write and send emails. Now, we learn that Windows 11 will be compatible with gaming companies such as Xbox and Microsoft. This will be a great deal once Windows 11 is released.
On the other hand the mobile offer has been increased over the years with new devices focused on gaming and more and more titles entering the mobile world such as Free Fire, Call of Duty and Fortnite. Along with the recent inclusion of Riot Games mobile versions of League of Legends, Wild Rift, this added to the accessibility of getting a device instead of a computer or a console and has increased the exposure of Esports in general and made them for everybody.
The mobile market in Latin America has impacted society in a way that was hard to imagine one or two years ago, and this has been in great part thanks to the COVID pandemic, which forced the whole continent to stay home and look for alternative ways to spend our free time.
When the whole world was paused, esports and video games took the lead and provided a form of entertainment that was barely known to a huge part of the Latin American public. This made platforms such as Twitch, alongside the support led by well-known TV companies like TV Azteca in Mexico and ViaxSports in Chile, provide a new perspective on what the esports world is and how it can be served to a new public eager to enjoy some time watching and engaging in it.
This exposure radically changed the perception of esports in society, from a misunderstood and taboo subject, to a day-to-day routine generating space for non-endemic public to get a glimpse into what professional video games can do, generating jobs in areas such as psychology, nutrition, health, personal trainers, gastronomy and much more.
Everything has a down side and this industry is not exempt from that.
The fast paced growth created an overhyped effect where everybody aspired to be a Streamer or professional player, or wanted to join the esports wave, which caused a socioeconomic impact of esports on things such as hardware. On this point and taking in consideration the economic impact on the Latin American population wanting to join the esports and videogames community causing a huge demand on hardware all over the region, the amount of money that one has to invest to have a regular PC to play or stream is too high. Not to mention that all components are made outside of the LATAM countries, meaning they have to be imported and, varying from country to country, the import and tax policies can get a little bit out of control.
In some countries the impact goes beyond the point the traders (in countries like Argentina or Venezuela) take advantage of all this and raise prices more than necessary, compounding the already hard economic situation and creating an unsustainable environment where something as simple as play is not accessible for everybody.
This is where the Latin American esports environment shows the impact of esports in society, with the constant evolution of hardware and the increase in several markets. As with cryptocurrency, the economies of most of Latin American countries are not in the most optimal position to enter the market, either as a consumer, a fan or as an investor.
LATAM is not an easy market, there is a lot of talent and huge development happening right now on the continent. However, only a few take the chance to trust in the region and start investing, even though we have one of the most fast paced growing regions according to the latest Newzoo report with a CAGR of +14.0%.
Titles such as VALORANT, League of Legends and Counter Strike Global Offensive are the top esports developing in the region, and the talent has been more than demonstrated over and over again on international stages. We are just waiting for the support of investors to let us grow the potential and reach the unthinkable – improve the impact of esports in Latin America. Then we will be able to, once and for all, say that esports are here to stay and integrate them into our culture as a discipline taught in schools, so the positive impact that esports are creating can reach everyone.