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Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI), Electronic Arts Inc. (EA): Video-Game Athletes Win Millions. Have E-Sports Arrived?

Without that jump in viewer interest, it’s going to be hard for big companies to see much of an impact on their bottom lines. Right now, online video services offer the most e-sports content, but some companies are taking matters into their own hands. Valve — publisher of League of Legends rival DotA 2 — has implemented a viewing mode in the game itself. The hope is that players will be the most interested fans, and giving them an easy way to watch a pay-per-view event from within the game interface should help fans part with their cash.

Playing the long game
While a Starcraft 2 match runs around 10 minutes and professional fighting game rounds can be finished in seconds, anyone interested in the growth of e-sports is going to have to wait a bit longer. Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) is onboard to help build a community, but it’s not getting much help from Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA). Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) seems to be happy with the huge fan base that it’s generated in its classic sports franchises.

The company is focusing on boosting digital revenue and building an online community of video-game footballers around the world. Titles such as FIFA and Battlefield — a first-person shooter — have done very well recently, with FIFA hitting the No. 2 best-selling PC game spot in South Korea.

Getting console manufacturers onboard is going to be difficult as well. Sony  and Microsoft both have their own online communities, and there’s almost no chance that they would forgo those communities to allow players to compete cross-platform. In short, there’s just no profit in it for them.

The sheer number of barriers in the way means that we’re probably a way off from a real e-sports golden age. We might be closer than ever, but that doesn’t mean getting your favorite gamer’s face on your shirt is a reasonable Christmas request this year. As the community builds, gamers and investors should both hope for some success at the Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) level. If a company of that size can use e-sports to raise its bottom line, other large companies should be tempted into the space, which will only help the popularity of the sport.

The article Video-Game Athletes Win Millions. Have E-Sports Arrived? originally appeared on Fool.com is written by Andrew Marder.

Fool contributor Andrew Marder has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Microsoft.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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