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Esports fans follow a lot more than one game each

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The esports market is no longer the next hot place for brands to advertise – it’s the current hot place, as evidenced by dozens of stories from the last year of corporate money flooding the scene. So a new report by Nielsen – the authority on US television ratings – on the viewing habits of esports fans almost feels a little late. Still, you don’t have to be an advertiser looking to engage millennials to find its insights interesting.

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Nielsen polled esports fans in the USA, UK, Germany, and France. CS:GO is the biggest esport on PC in every country except France, where it’s League of Legends. League and CS:GO are the top two in all four. On console, it’s all about FIFA and COD, with Halo only cracking the top two in the USA.

PC is their dominant platform, with more than 50% of esports fans in every country except the UK using a computer for their gaming. In the UK, the figure of 39% was still ahead of the leading console, PlayStation 4, at 35%.

COD and GTA are either the most or second most played videogames among esports fans in all four countries surveyed. In the US, 61% of esports fans play COD, 60% play GTA, and Pokemon follows in a distant third place with 43%. In the UK, GTA leads with 63%, then COD with 58%, then FIFA with 44%.Only 25% of UK esports fans actually play CS:GO, one of the PC’s biggest esports.

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In the US, console dominates esports fans’ most played games even more, despite 50% of them playing at least some games on PC. Of our platform’s five biggest esports – CS:GO, League, Dota 2, Overwatch, and FIFA – none appear in US esports fans’ top ten games, though console big hitters such as COD, Halo, and Smash Bros do.

Interestingly, FIFA is well ahead of League of Legends or Overwatch among female esports fans, with 32% of its followers being women. Meanwhile, 90% of CS:GO’s fanbase and 84% of Dota 2’s are men.

Generally, esports fans aren’t into traditional sports, with no more than 66% of the audience professing such an interest in any sport. But they areveryinto esports, and generally follow more than one title each: the average is 5.7 games in the US, but falls to 4.5 in France and the UK, and 3.8 in Germany. Those games fall between two and three different genres in all four countries.

On the surface, this contradicts a report by Newzoo that came out in May, which suggested 70% of fans of the biggest three esports – CS:GO, League, and Dota 2 – watched only one of those games. However, if they watched that one game as well as several other, lesser esports, then both reports could be true. And indeed, that feels plausible: Dota 2 or League fans seem unlikely to watch the ‘other’ big MOBA, but may well watch FIFA, COD, Overwatch, or others.

You can download Nielsen’s report here.