The Role of AV Technology in Enhancing the eSports Experience

4 min read

The popularity of eSports is on the rise. In 2023, viewers watched 2.76 billion hours of eSports content, a major increase from the 1.58 billion hours logged in 2019. Those hours translated to a 2023 global market of $1,983.4 million, with North America accounting for 37.2% of that market — the most of any country.

There’s plenty of reason to believe that this growth of eSports is just the beginning, and even more viewers can be attracted to the space in years to come. More eyes on the eSports arena mean it’s more important than ever to ensure that the overall experience is dynamic and engaging for gamers and viewers alike.

AV technology is essential to optimizing the eSports experience. With the right tools, the eSports industry can capitalize on its current momentum and deliver even more exciting experiences.

Upgrading the eSports Arena

When most people think of a sporting arena, they likely have a specific image in mind. That image probably consists of a centrally located court or field where the athletes compete and a viewing area for spectators that surrounds the field. This image is consistent regardless of scale — a small high school gym, for example, is similar to a larger professional arena.

eSports arenas break that mold. While it’s certainly possible to hold these popular events in traditional sporting arenas (such as when the Chase Center hosted a tournament with great success), the different format of eSports competitions allows for creative arena design. With the right use of AV technology, any arena can deliver a state-of-the-art experience.

Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Intimate and Immersive eSports Experience

As eSports popularity has grown in general, it has also grown widely across higher education. More and more young people are growing up with eSports as a part of their lives, so it makes sense that colleges with eSports would be attractive to the younger generation.

To stand out, Southwestern Oklahoma State renovated a former racquetball court into an immersive eSports arena. By utilizing Panasonic Connect laser projectors and zoom lenses they were able to create an immersive environment for up to 113 in-person spectators that is unlike anything else in the state of Oklahoma.

The arena has had the desired effect, enabling the university to increase recruitment efforts for its eSports program and to become an influential leader within the eSports community. 

How an Upgraded eSports Arena Benefits Fans and Players Alike

As Southwestern Oklahoma State has shown, taking a creative and technologically advanced approach to eSports arenas can yield great results. It allows fans to experience live sporting competitions in an intimate and immersive venue unlike any other. It also melds the home theater and live sports experiences to deliver a combination of comfort and immediacy. However, there are further benefits to the gamers and the college itself:

  • Using projectors and displays to create immersive environments ups the excitement level for players as well as fans. It allows eSports athletes to feel a greater sense of importance, making each competition a thrilling event.

  • Better tech can lead to better recruitment. As with any sport, colleges compete for the best talent. Having the right facilities is a major recruitment tool.

  • Even intimate venues can have a wide reach through live-stream broadcasts. The expanded viewership opportunities also serve to exhibit facilities to potential future students.

Creating the Best eSports Broadcasts

Ferris State University created the first purpose-built eSports arena in Michigan. To fully maximize this investment, the university also recognized that using AV technology to create cutting-edge broadcasts could build both interest and educational opportunities.

The Right Camera to Capture the Action

When thinking about how best to broadcast eSports events, there are numerous things you want to consider:

  • The virtual environment of the game
  • The scope of the entire arena and the event itself
  • The intimate reactions of individual players and fans
  • How teams are interacting during the event
  • Live commentary and analysis of the action

Capturing all of that requires an array of broadcast tools, such as robotic PTZ cameras that can capture multiple angles of the event as it’s happening without intruding on the events.

KAIROS Live Video Production Platform

Capturing the action is just the first hurdle. Broadcasts need to take all of these elements and shape them into a cohesive narrative, and they need to do it live. To accomplish this, a solution like Panasonic Connect’s award-winning KAIROS live video production platform is invaluable. KAIROS’ many features include:

  • Centralized Hub: By creating one, centralized space where all inputs can be controlled, KAIROS allows small teams to make dynamic editing decisions as soon as content is received.

  • Easy-To-Use: KAIROS’s intuitive design creates a low barrier to entry. This is perfect for a learning environment and opens the field of broadcast production to more voices, which can lead to greater creativity and more exciting broadcasts.

  • Boosted Immediacy: One of live sports’ great selling points is the immediacy of the competition. eSports is no exception. Fans want to see the action live. KAIROS is designed for live productions, allowing you to deliver the real-time tension and excitement fans expect.

eSports AV Technology Beyond the Arena

There’s a reason that so many colleges are interested in eSports. Perhaps more than any traditional sport, eSports teaches students skills that can be transferred into other fields.

USC's Digital Creative Lab features displays, podcast rooms, 3D spaces, and the KAIROS live production system. This makes for a space that is perfect for eSports but also encourages creativity and teaches skills that can be useful in a multitude of industries including:

  • Gaming
  • Live streaming 
  • Media production
  • Entertainment
  • 3D modeling
  • Streaming

eSports is just one example of an industry that is enhanced by AV technology. By providing students with the opportunity to learn about the best tech, colleges can familiarize them with the tools they will be using in the workforce. Whether they continue in eSports or move to another field, that knowledge will carry over.

AV Technology Unlocks the Potential of eSports

eSports, at its best, blends the immersive qualities of a virtual environment with the dynamism of live sports. To achieve this, the right technology is needed to ensure that players, enthusiasts, and casual fans are all given the best possible experience. Panasonic Connect’s array of eSports solutions provides the tools that will allow eSports to continue expanding its reach and reach its full growth potential.