18 Mar 2021
We have heard of many instances within the esports space of organisations, teams and players not receiving prize pools that they are eligible for. Whether it is competition organisers refusing to pay participants, or indeed organisations and teams not paying their esports players, it is an all too familiar occurrence that is detrimental to the long-term sustainability of the competitive landscape and integrity of the industry.
If we consider that a great proportion of these horror stories occur at the professional esports level, with those that compete in high-profile competitions, watched in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, then we must ask: how badly is the casually competitive and amateur gamer affected by this?
Why are prize pools important to non-professional esports players?
This piece will look at the importance of esports prize pools, particularly for the casual competitive and amateur esports gamer — the target demographic for IGGalaxy.
Before we focus on this, though, let’s first have a look at where esports prize pools can come from.
Once upon a time, esports prize pools consisted of little more than small prizes and bragging rights. Looking back to the first esports tournament hosted in a Stanford University campus, The Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics, in 1972, the winner’s prize was a year’s subscription to Rolling Stone Magazine. In the late-nineties, prize pools rose to the thousands, with the PGL Season 3 in 1998 offering a $61,000 total prize pool, and contributing to a $131,700 total prize pool for that year alone. By 2017, history was made again, as total prize pools for esports competitions surpassed $100m for the first time! Now, with greater revenue flowing throughout the industry, we are witnessing instances of teenagers winning life-changing sums of money for competing in their favourite games.
Game developers and publishers are one of the largest contributors to esports prize pools, primarily because they can rely on their game’s revenue to fund esports competitions. These stakeholders are uniquely positioned as they can leverage their respective competitive circuits as a means of driving game sales; naturally, increased game sales can then translate to higher prize pools. This is particularly the case for free-to-play games, where the sale of battle passes, skins and weapons are a great source for generating prize pools.
Funnily enough, it is the freemium games that have paid the largest esports prize pools. In 2019, Fortnite offered $100 million in a series of tournaments throughout the year, which then culminated in a World Cup final event in the summer. In a matter of hours, a sixteen-year-old became one of the industry’s highest earners. This tremendous feat was only eclipsed by Valve’s Dota 2 The International (TI9), which was crowd-funded by the Dota 2 community, in which the winning team, OG, collectively received $15.5m — **$3.1m each.
These astronomical increases in prize pools have been a testament to just how far the industry has come. At the same time, we must also recognise that there are some game communities that do not receive the same level of support as Fortnite, Dota 2, or League of Legends players do, for instance. The fighting game community (FGC), here, immediately comes to mind.
In the FGC, specifically, it is the tournament organisers that bear the responsibility for prize pools, which are almost raised exclusively through entry fees. Entry fees provide the most reliable method for tournament organisers to raise prize pools; however, the size of the prize pool is naturally dependant on the popularity of the game. What’s more, there is also a very stark contrast between the venues in which fighting game tournaments are hosted, and where we would imagine a Dota 2 competition consisting of top-tier esports players would compete.
With more inward investment to the esports industry, brands are perhaps the most significant contributors to prize pools. This is unsurprising as the industry has demonstrated its huge potential for returns of investment. Advancements in technology, most notably greater connectivity to the internet, has seen the popularity of esports, and more widely gaming, burst to the forefront of mainstream entertainment; we can identify popular game streamers just as readily as we can our favourite sports stars. This, of course, is attractive to brands and provides an explanation as to why they are willing to invest heavily in large prize pools.
While increased prize pools have been hugely beneficial to the growth and reach of esports, the majority of these are reserved for the very elite esports players of the very top esports titles; very little trickles down to the casual competitive and amateur gamer.
It is safe to say the casually competitive and amateur gamer relies heavily on prize pools to provide a source of income — although that is not to say that professionals do not. Even then, prize pools are still not enough. Here, they merely serve as a means to offer somewhat of an injection of funds to support their esports careers.
When we consider the average amount spent on gaming per year — gaming setups, equipment, games, electricity (not to mention time!) — the costs, by far, outweigh the prize pools on offer. And this is before they can even guarantee that they will in fact receive their prizes!
Wouldn’t it be great if there was some way that gamers could receive prizes they were entitled to without having to worry about not receiving them?
So, while we’ve established that prize pools go some way towards maintaining sustainability for non-professional teams and gamers, which is great, the uncertainty surrounding whether players actually receive them remains prevalent.
This is where IGGalaxy provides an apt solution with the official esports token, IG Gold (IGG).
IGGalaxy offered over half a million dollars to esports players in 2020!
IGGalaxy is a next-gen social competitive gaming platform, powered by Polygon Network (formerly Matic), currently in beta. The integration of blockchain technology as the underlying infrastructure to IGGalaxy, means that Intergalactic Gaming brings certainty and integrity to esports competitions, ensuring all participants receive fair rewards for taking part. Of course, rewards in IGGalaxy are meritocratic, so the higher a team or player finishes, the greater the rewards!
The prize distribution system in place is one of IGGalaxy’s most powerful, publicised and unique selling points. Once gamers have an active crypto wallet on the platform, all rewards are distributed twenty-four hours after an esports tournament has concluded. Furthermore, thanks to Polygon Network’s layer-two solution for Ethereum, rewards can be distributed anywhere in the world, at the speed of light, without incurring additional fees or facing delays to payments.
At present, there are some limitations to the overall process for gamers to convert their tournament rewards, but this is only because we are at a very early part of the crypto industry’s development. In addition, wider issues with Ethereum insofar as extremely high transaction fees coupled with network congestion, also present barriers for gamers competing in IGGalaxy.
Not to fear, though, solutions are very much on the way! Very soon, we’ll see centralised exchanges like Binance supporting Polygon Network, which will in turn enable a much easier route for gamers to convert their winnings. On our side, we are in communication with Transak regarding the integration of a fiat gateway for our IGG esports token, which will be a part of a wider strategy over the coming months to enhance the experience of our platform users.
If there’s nothing more you love than earning from competing in esports tournaments, then you’re going to love what comes next!
In IGGalaxy, you can passively increase your IGG holdings, simply by holding them! Using IGLabs, we’ve had thousands of gamers store their IGG tokens, which in turn rewards them ORB tokens. These ORB tokens can be held for future utility throughout IGGalaxy as the platform develops, or you can compound your IGG by selling your ORB anytime at a fixed rate.
If you’d like to know more about this, head over to IGGalaxy’s official Discord server, where there are many community admins on hand to help you get started!
It’s been said it once, but it needs to be repeated: IGGalaxy was the best kept secret of 2020!
In a year when the world came to a stand-still due to the coronavirus pandemic, the total esports prize pool fell by almost half as LAN (local area network) events were cancelled.
During this time, IGGalaxy’s public beta was launched, and, within the space of a year, managed to reach in excess of 100,000 registered users! Not only this, but IGGalaxy has demonstrated its commitment to the casual competitive and amateur scene, offering over half a million dollars (at this current market value) to casual esports gamers.
It’s safe to say that IGGalaxy, in its first year of public beta release, has gone far beyond that of any other competitive gaming and esports platform. And as more esports gamers join the competitive gaming evolution, IGGalaxy will undeniably leave its mark on the competitive and esports scene!
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