Wargaming is planning to step up investment into eSports gaming to the tune of $10 million in 2014, over $8 million in 2013, according to GamesIndustry.biz. The “why” for it is player demand, said Wargaming CEO Victor Kisyli at a Warsaw, Poland press conference. The numbers seem to bear that out: “In 2012, for example, 30,000 pro players took part in 120 World of Tanks tournaments; in 2013, that ballooned to 200,000 players across more than 1000 World of Tanks tournaments.”
The growth of eSports as an interest within the Wargaming community extrapolates well from the growth in overall registered player counts, which is confirmed at 80 million.
The new eSports unit within Wargaming will be similar to a company within a company, presumably attending to the needs of competitive gamers, spectators, gaming tournaments, etc.
eSports is a growth industry itself, according to Superdata Research and Newzoo, with 70 million viewers worldwide — and 31.4 million hailing from the US alone. The prize pools are being upped to keep pace with the strong and growing interest in competitive gaming, with $25 million offered in 2013.