There is a new generation and among its members PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, Virtual and Augmented Realty are an indispensable part of life and in a sense belong to a basic necessity of life. Popularity of esports is found especially among the new generations, like the millennials and Generation Z. The term “esports” stands for the competitive play – in the form of competitions or tournaments – of computer games. To a large extent, matches take place online, but also at major events and physical locations where people meet each other offline. Where esports serves top sport, gaming is regarded as recreational sport. Esports is becoming more and more popular worldwide. This is reflected in the numbers of fans and spectators both online and in stadiums (2019: 335 million). And even over a billion in prize money in 2019.
In the Netherlands we have not (yet) defined esports in this way. We use the term 'esports' as a broad definition for any gameplay in a virtual world. From the games played at home on a computer or console, to big leagues with stadiums full of spectators. But also the games that link physical movement to the virtual world, such as innovative gymnasiums. The aim of working with this broad definition is to include the entire experience of the 'new generation', from top sport to grassroots. We think that the government, together with the business community, but also social, education and welfare organizations should play a role within esports and gaming, a (for the time being) commercial world.
The new generation must be facilitated in their hobby and sport. For esports, an extensive action plan must be set up with attention to events, support and other domains such as health, care, economy, labor market, youth and education (from norms, values and awareness to the use of influencers). A consortium must be formed with the business community, knowledge institutions, users and government.
Various interventions have started where House of Esports in Rotterdam has played an important role, has been ahead of the pack and has fulfilled a real pioneering role in the past three years.