That single word represents about 80% of the money esports organizations bring in, but what exactly are “peripherals,” and how are they such a moneymaker in esports? For a refresher on what esports organizations are, as well as the other structures present in esports, be sure to check out this article I wrote last week. However, if you’re all up to speed, let’s take a hard look at the world of esports peripherals and why they are so crucial to revenue in esports orgs.
“Peripherals” in esports are everything a player needs to actually play a video game or compete in an esports. If you were to ask a standard professional athlete what they needed, you would likely get an answer along the lines of cleats, a helmet, pads, and extra comfy socks. Esports player peripherals, however, are much different. They often include highly sensitive mice, mechanical keyboards, and sound canceling headsets. Therefore, companies that make these products can be “endorsed” by certain esports orgs, or even get advertising deals with them, in order to promote their quality products. Players who are contracted employees of such organizations can sometimes do the promoting by keeping a slow scroll of the logos of the endorsed companies up on their screen as they stream. Players can also promote or advertise products simply by using them when they compete. The list doesn’t just end at what the pros themselves use, however, as companies that make such products aren’t necessarily selling to just the professionals, they’re selling primarily to the average spectator. Therefore, in the world of esports, you can see advertisements for high-definition computer monitors, powerful gaming laptops, microphones, durable mousepads, computer components (such as graphics cards or RAM), and even chairs. In short, peripherals can include everything an average spectator of esports may need for their home gaming set up, and, for the right price, all of those items can be endorsed by players or organizations so the advertising goes straight to the eyes of esports fans around the world.
The Price of Greatness
With such an extensive list of sellable products, it comes as no surprise that peripherals and advertising are such a large chunk of the profits of esports organizations. However, it’s not just the quantity of products that is staggering, it’s also the price of such products. Want a top tier gaming mouse? Easily $70. A great mechanical keyboard? Likely $100 and beyond. A comfy and high-quality gaming chair? You could be hitting the $300 range for such a purchase. And those are the cheaper products. Graphics cards and high-powered gaming laptops can push thousands of dollars each, and top-tier monitors can also be a big seller, largely because many gaming set ups use two (or even three to four) monitors at once.
This isn’t to say that these products aren’t worth the price – far from it. Rather, it’s meant to highlight just how big of a deal even a single sale can be, and therefore how hard the companies behind such products work to gain loyal customers. Certain companies, like Logitech and Razer, compete tirelessly to make top quality gaming mice and keyboards to try and win over customers early so they can potentially keep them for life. You’d be hard pressed to watch a single esports event where one of their products isn’t advertised in some form or another. Similarly, companies like Nvidia and Ryzen will duke it out to sell you graphics cards, Corsair and HyperX will butt heads to sell you RAM, and DXRacer and SecretLab will sit on each other to sell you the comfiest gaming chair they can. Even companies like Alienware (Dell), that sell rather uniquely high powered tech and therefore have few competitors, tirelessly advertise in the esports industry, as esports fans are more likely to be diehard video game players who are prone to purchasing their products.
Put simply, every product in the esports industry has multiple companies behind it that all want to be the king of the hill, and many are willing to pay top dollar to organizations that can put their name and product in the limelight. This creates a huge revenue pool for esports organizations, as they are often the go-to entities in esports that have both the freedom and buying power to make such endorsement or advertising deals a reality. This overabundance of competition and products in the esports market also plays a part in keeping the quality of products high and the price (relatively) low for players, allowing them to buy and use the brands their favorite esports athletes use. However, it’s important to keep in mind that such earnings carry with them a plethora of legal questions, especially since they are usually based on contracts and involve multiple moving parts. Further, peripherals being such a large part of esports organization revenue may make it prone to corruption, so the legal scholars of today and tomorrow would be wise to keep their eyes on peripherals as esports continues to progress and grow.