Esports has become a mass cultural phenomenon in Germany. Two thirds of Germans have heard of digital sports, and around 11 million regularly watch esports competitions. Germany is home to a number of internationally renowned competitions, including the ESL One tournaments in Cologne and Hamburg, the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and the PUBG Global Invitational. In that sense, the country already holds an important global role and still has room to expand. Esports sales revenue in Germany rose by an average of 25 per cent annually from 2016 to 2018, and it is expected to increase to over 100 million euros in 2020. Global sales revenue recently exceeded the billion-dollar mark.
Esports is part of gaming culture
Esports is an important part of gaming culture and the games industry. The focus of esports is on competition, team spirit and fair play. Developers, publishers and event organisers work closely with the community to develop successful esports formats and titles – and to continuously refine them. Given the major societal, cultural and economic significance of esports, all political players should be keen to create ideal conditions for the whole industry to flourish. The question of whether esports is an actual sport is not a decisive factor here. Despite its many parallels to traditional sport, esports is unique – its execution and organisation are very different from traditional sport, for example.
Steps towards becoming the best location for esports
A number of important factors are already in place to make Germany into the best location for esports. The federal government’s 2018 coalition agreement acknowledges ‘the growing importance of the esports landscape in Germany’. Since then, it has become easier for esports players from non-EU countries to come to Germany. Many of the individual German states have also taken the first steps towards promoting esports. Nevertheless, there are still reservations about esports, as well as hurdles that will hinder its further development in the country. The priority, however, is to solve the following problems in order to improve the standing of esports in Germany:
- Official acknowledgement of the non-profit status of clubs offering esports
- Creating better conditions for esports at the state and community level
- Promoting talent
The policy paper of game · esports, the working group for game members who are actively involved with esports, can be found in the enclosed PDF.