Konami sets up eSports competition with Pique's eFootball.Pro
Konami, the Japan-based video game developer, is launching a professional eSports competition as part of a collaboration with eFootball.Pro, the eSports organisation headed up by Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique.
The international league will be based on Konami’s soccer game series, Pro Evolution Soccer, and the developer has said the competition will be “broadcast globally.”
The agreement is also reported to include Desports, the Chinese sports marketing agency, which will be responsible for taking the tournament to China.
Commenting on the venture, Pique said: “The goal is to drive all that makes traditional football the king of sports, towards electronic football, towards eSports. We want to bind the best of both worlds to bring the public a new entertainment model that they love since the first day.”
Hideki Hayakawa, chief executive of Konami Digital Entertainment, added: “Konami has always been committed to delivering quality entertainment experiences to its customers, and eSports is an opportune market for reaching a growing audience. eFootball.Pro’s unique position in eSports, combined with its strong football leadership, will allow us to deliver a fresh way for customers to enjoy our products.”
Meanwhile, Newzoo, the industry researcher, has revised its ambitious estimate that the eSports industry would generate $696 million in 2017 and has now projected that it will generate $660 million this year, representing a market growth of 34 per cent.
In a statement, Newzoo said: "The small downward correction for this year is based on a combination of factors: the events and leagues pertaining to and organized directly by the publishers generate less direct advertising and sponsorship revenue than anticipated."
The company also cited the delay to the launch of two major eSports competitions, the Overwatch League and NBA 2K Eleague, which are now debuting in 2018 rather than this year.
Newzoo added: “With the number of spectators attracted by electronic sports, there is no doubt that in the coming years it will become a multi-billion dollar industry. The only question is at what pace this will happen."