What does PS4 and Xbox One Mean for eSports?

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    Updated: November 14, 2013
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    By: Michael Poropat

    In case you haven’t heard, the new gaming systems, the PS4 and Xbox One, are being released this month. Sony’s PlayStation 4 will be hitting the shelves this Friday, November 15, and Microsoft Xbox One will be shipping out the following Friday on November 22. There is a lot of excitement around these two consoles and both have very high expectation, but it seems as though their effect on the eSports industry has yet to be properly evaluated.

    The specs between the PS4 and Xbox One are fairly similar, with PS4 getting the slight edge in nearly every category. Both systems have fancy new features including further support for the Xbox Kinect and PlayStation Eye cameras, new motion features, and of course far more powerful graphics than the previous generation.

    As it stands right now, the majority of eSports are games played on the PC platform, and not on consoles. There are many reasons why this is so. First, the genres that are popular in eSports do not translate well into controllers (imagine playing StarCraft with a PlayStation of Xbox controller). Second, even the games that do translate well with controllers, many argue that its easier and more accurate with a mouse and a keyboard (specifically first-person shooters). However, one of the biggest issues with consoles and eSports, in my opinion, is the lack of sustainable income for professional players on consoles.

    PS4 and Xbox One Comparison

    One of the biggest ways that pro players make money in eSports is be streaming their practices, and other content, online. With PCs its very easy and cheap to set up your twitch stream and start playing games while streaming to the world. Often times pro players will have tens of thousands of unique concurrent viewers and Twitch.tv will pay pro gamers for advertising on their site. This is a large source of income for pro gamers an many of them (especially ones that don’t win tournaments often) would not have nearly as sustainable an income. Without the income from streaming, they would really only have their salary and their tournament winnings (depending on how their team contracts force them to split winnings).

    The PS4 and Xbox One have helped with this problem and now both have a new feature which allows users to record and stream their content directly to Twitch.tv or Ustream. This will allows pro console gamers to be able to make a secondary income using streaming services with their games as easily as ever. This should help the sustainability of the eSport for the players.

    In addition, the massive amount of streaming of console games that will ensue from the PS4 and Xbox One, should improve awareness of these games as eSports and should improve their popularity as the systems get older. This will also allow amateur players, who are trying to go pro, to have a somewhat sustainable income to allow them to pursue their goal. It isn’t just the players who benefit from this either. Tournament organizer will now have an easy way to stream all the games from the tournaments they host and possibly charge for viewing them on Twitch.

    The possibilities are endless. The PS4 and Xbox One should add tons of value to the gaming industry, and especially the eSports industry. I don’t expect a full swing into console games from PC games in eSports, but I do expect games like Battlefield 4, Madden and NBA 2K to launch into the eSports industry stronger than ever before. Who knows, maybe we will start seeing Madden and NBA 2K at MLG.

    For more eSports news, check out www.CompetitiveGamer.net

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