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What are esports?

Esports are leagues, competitive circuits, tournaments, or similar competitions in which individuals or teams play video games, for entertainment, prizes, or money, typically for spectators, either in-person or online.

Esports is one of the fastest growing pillars of the video games industry, with a global community of hundreds of millions of people who actively compete in or watch esports each year.

  • Global revenues are expected to reach €1 billion in 2021.
  • In 2020, the esports audience grew by 9.55%. 
  • In 2020, the total audience in Europe was 92 million people.

Find out more such data in the latest Video Games Europe and EGDF Key Facts report

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Guide to Esports

Esports, also known as competitive gaming, is revolutionising how consumers watch, follow and engage with video games. Everyone wants to be part of it, while many overlook that they are an important part of the video games industry.

So there you have it – representatives from video game associations all over the world and major video game companies have created the Guide to Esports, which outlines the state of esports play for all stakeholders, including publishers, developers, tournament organisers, teams, players and fans.. The Guide also outlines economic growth, demographics, job creation, educational and social opportunities, the current economy and their potential for growth, both locally and internationally. It also aims to facilitate dialogue between decision makers and the industry.

Read our Guide to Esports 

Which principles guide esports?

As members of the global video games and esports community (including the owners and publishers of the intellectual property underlying esports), we created these guiding principles of engagement in an effort to promote esports that are fun, fair, and enjoyed by players around the world in an open and inclusive environment. We support these principles and encourage all esports stakeholders to do the same.

These core principles were developed in a collaborative effort and form a set of values applicable in all aspects of the global esports environments: safety and well-being, integrity and fair play, respect and diversity, and positive and enriching game play.

Through mutual respect, understanding, and purpose, we strive to foster community that is responsible, welcoming, engaging, and of course, fun. By promoting a safe, fair, and inclusive esports environment, all members of the esports ecosystem benefit from sportsmanship, camaraderie, and other positive values that our industry actively promotes.

All esports community members deserve to participate in and enjoy esports in safe spaces and to be free from threats and acts of violence and from language or behavior that makes people feel threatened or harassed.
Cheating, hacking, or otherwise engaging in disreputable, deceitful, or dishonest behavior detracts from the experience of others, unfairly advantages teams and players, and tarnishes the legitimacy of esports.
Esports promotes a spirit of healthy competition. Whether in person or online, all members of the esports community should demonstrate respect and courtesy to others, including teammates, opponents, game officials, organizers, and spectators. Esports is truly global and brings together players from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. We believe the broad and diverse player base of esports contributes to its success. We support an open, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all, no matter one’s gender identity, age, ability, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
Esports can help build self-confidence and sportsmanship and boost interpersonal communication and teamwork skills. Esports brings players and fans together to problem solve through strategic play, collaboration, and critical thinking. Participation in esports can also lead to the development of new and lasting friendships among teammates, competitors, and members of the broader esports community.

Are esports a sport?

The video games industry is highly creative. Unlike sports, each video game used in esports is a one-of-a-kind creation of a developer/publisher who in turn owns its intellectual property rights.

Video game competitions are held using IT infrastructures and networks, and often involve players located around the world, as opposed to the territorial organisation found in sports. While sports disciplines are based on tradition and fixed rules that are rarely subject to changes, competitive video games necessitate constant reworking, rebalancing, and adding new content to keep them updated, playable, and enjoyable, as well as constant player support and community management.

Video games exist in a different ecosystem than sports. Our members’ products are regulated under consumer and minor protection laws, consumer contract laws, IP laws, taxation and company laws, and much more, at European and national levels. Sport laws cannot, and should not, be applied to them. Applying sports laws would be detrimental to European esports stakeholders and their ability to compete in the global market. 

Read further.

What is Video Games Europe Esports?

Video Games Europe Esports was launched in August 2019 to promote esports and represent its European stakeholders. Video Games Europe Esports will: 

  • Bring together esports stakeholders to discuss and find common ground on issues affecting the sector
  • Coordinate and articulate the voice of esports at the highest levels
  • Raise awareness of esports and of the opportunities it offers amongst policy makers and other stakeholders
  • Encourage the exchange of views and intelligence, and the development of best practices
  • Identify challenges to the growth and development of the esports sector 
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Who are members of Video Games Europe Esports?

Activision Blizzard
Bandai Namco
Electronic Arts
Epic Games
Riot Games
Take 2 Interactive

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A message from our chairpersons

Video Games Europe Esports is a group that strives to promote the esports industry for the benefit of all its stakeholders and to provide a cohesive, reliable point of reference for this exciting sector.

Many of the video games played today in esports competitions have been developed and/or published by Video Games Europe members or by members of its national trade associations. With video games publishers, our games and our players at the very heart of esports, we are best-placed to lead the growth and development of this new frontier for the video games industry, to meet its challenges, promote esports, and to provide an authoritative voice on the issues impacting our businesses.

According to Newzoo, global esports revenues are expected to reach $1,598.2M in 2023.

Ian Mattingly

Chief Legal & Corporate Officer for Activision Blizzard EMEA and Chief Legal Officer of King

With the esports industry growing at such a fast rate, it is crucial that we publishers should bring to bear our many years of experience and, in particular, our rigorous standards for responsible gameplay for the overall good of the ecosystem and the protection of our players. Esports has revolutionised how consumers interact with sports, video games and online streaming platforms and we are committed to working with stakeholders across Europe to grow the potential of esports: for jobs and economic growth and the development of digital skills, to boost the flow of talent into this exciting sector, and to promote a fair, inclusive and diverse esports culture for all.
Alberto Guerrero

Director of Esports, Europe & MENA for Riot Games

Contact us

If your organisation would be interested in joining Video Games Europe Esports or if you are working or reporting on policy relating to the esports sector or would like information relating to esports, please contact us at: