The future of esports in the public and private sectors
From libraries to airports to the metaverse, our esports experts reveal the future of scholastic esports

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Esports is a thriving and rapidly growing industry at every organizational level – from scholastic esports leagues that encourage student inclusivity and promote STEAM disciplines, to professional arena-sized events with world-class superstars.

7 trends foretelling the future of esports

As a longtime supporter of and solution provider for scholastic esports programs, SHI closely tracks esports trends to anticipate future use cases, identify new consumers, and fine-tune implementation strategies.

Our esports specialists have highlighted seven trends of where esports is headed, how it is expanding, who its new customers will be, and how tomorrow’s esports might benefit society at large.

1. Community centers and libraries augment schools

To extend esports benefits to students and adults alike, community centers and libraries are installing their own esports facilities – a trend we expect to increase. While this may be a new frontier for community centers and libraries, resources are available to help jumpstart the process. Esports Environment Assessments can help inform the decisions that transform empty facilities into interactive esports experiences while bridging the gap between school and community programs.

Should schools cut back on their programs, or during long closures like summer vacation and the pandemic, students are still able to pursue esports activities. In fact, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund was created in part to reach underserved student populations and help support esports during the pandemic by providing another source of esports funding for community centers and libraries. SHI’s Grants team can help these organizations identify their funding options and submit applications for ESSER and more.

2. Airports and retail centers engage visitors with esports arcades

Recognizing the entertainment value of dedicated esports centers, these high-traffic destinations enrich the visitor experience for customers and their families. Esports arcades generate an additional revenue stream while enabling retail customers to shop longer, or travelers to entertain their kids while waiting for their next flight.

3. Local governments partner with educators

Another growing trend is for schools to collaborate with mayors and other local leaders in a shared-service environment. Their intent is to make esports available in off-campus locations like science centers, museums, and other gathering places, introducing gaming as part of developing computer literacy, coding instruction, and other skills. SHI’s managed services teams are used to supporting IT and shared service needs across complementary public sector organizations. Whether that is software shared services or managing your IT cloud based infrastructure across several organizations, SHI can help.

4. Esports career opportunities will continue to skyrocket

Esports is exploding and will continue to produce countless job opportunities, including event production, esports live commentary, technical support, security, arena design, music, graphic design, and more. SHI has defined what K-12 districts and colleges must do to create esports career paths. We have also created our own professional development curriculum and training and development pathways for educators and counselors who want to teach esports to their students.

5. Esports will establish credibility as its own funding ‘must-have’

State and federal funding specifically for scholastic esports is currently unavailable and instead must be tied into overall STEAM activities. Programs must demonstrate dual-purpose resource usage, such as re-deploying specialized gaming PCs as lab hardware.

SHI believes this approach will evolve in the future – and rightfully so, given esports support for STEAM and related career tracks. Already, stakeholders have begun to realize that today’s scholastic esports participation nurtures tomorrow’s professional esports innovators. As a result, the case for offering esports-specific funding will become easier to make.

6. Esports will get physical on tomorrow’s real-world playing field

With the emergence of virtual- and augmented-reality wearables, esports can be untethered from the PC to provide the best of both worlds: the health benefits of physical exercise – playing dodgeball, for example – with an immersive sensory experience.

To make this happen, organizations will require top-end network and data center solutions that enable optimal customer experiences while providing data protection for the host gaming organization and its users. With countless game titles to choose from, the physical demands of each competition can be matched to the capabilities of each individual gamer, so that it’s inclusive of all ability levels. And, despite the element of physical movement, personal proximity is not a factor – gaming opponents located anywhere in the world can go head-to-head.

7. Esports will expand into the metaverse and beyond

Now in its infancy, developers are at work building out the world’s first digital alternate reality of a common metaverse environment – and esports will have a pervasive presence there. In addition, portable gaming devices will allow esports to be played through airplane infotainment systems, mall kiosks, resort rooms, and countless other ports as everyone’s personal avatar lets them engage anywhere, with anyone, regardless of language or location.

Wherever esports goes next, SHI can help achieve a successful future

As esports continues to evolve at warp speed, SHI continues to track its trends and opportunities. But, despite the accelerating pace of transformation, certain elements remain constant for its long-term success: the need for a compelling vision, thoughtful planning, realistic goals and expectations, and clear communication with all stakeholders. It requires the insights, experience, and abilities of a trusted advisor with a proven record of successful implementations to help schools and organizations proceed with confidence.

SHI begins every engagement with a plan assessment to evaluate goals, challenges, resources, and opportunities, working at every stage as a partner and companion on the esports journey.

We can help you discover the future of esports personally: Schedule an esports assessment or jumpstart your scholastic esports journey by contacting our esports specialists today.