eSports Is No Game: The Business Case for Competitive Gaming

by James Grunke

“If you don’t stop sitting around playing video games, you’ll never amount to anything.”

A familiar refrain from the moms of Gen X and Millennial kids. But those moms didn’t foresee what’s going on at events like ESL One’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive eSports tournament, being held next week at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center with $250,000 in prizes up for grabs. NVIDIA is the official tournament hardware platform.

Tens of thousands of fans are filling arenas around the world — and millions are crowding into live video feeds run by streaming services like Twitch, Hitbox and YouTube — to watch pros play for stakes that are among the richest in the world of sports.

Here’s what’s going on: momentum for PC gaming is growing, fast. Gamers spend more than double on their PCs that other consumers do, according to Gartner, and worldwide sales of gaming PCs will grow to 8.7 million units in 2020 from 6 million units last year. Those gamers — like any sports enthusiasts — want to see the very best compete to win the games they love.

And virtually every one of these PC gaming events is powered by our gear.

“We equip competitors with GeForce GPUs at every one of our tournaments around the world,” said Ulrich Schulze, vice president of pro gaming at eSports powerhouse ESL. “But that’s just part of the story. Behind the scenes, we’re running basically a major media operation – and we rely on GeForce GPUs to serve the on-stage action up to millions of simultaneous users.”

We landed right in the middle of events like these by being in competitive gaming from the start. We build the gear gamers use to enjoy these games at their best. And we’re working to bring more and more of these gamers into the eSports community. The result: our GeForce gaming gear is the platform of choice for eSports.

Fans are filling arenas around the world — and crowding into live video feeds by the millions — to watch pros play for stakes that are among the richest in the world of sports.

NVIDIA is an eSports pioneer. Back in 1999, we introduced the first GPU — the processor that turned the PC into the premier gaming platform. We held our first GeForce LAN in 2004, which featured competitions, and we’ve hosted the largest pro-am tournaments for Hearthstone, World of Tanks and StarCraft 2.

That investment continues. We spend more than any other company — $1.3 billion a year — on research and development that benefits eSports and gaming. We design GPUs with eSports in mind, and surround them with technology such as our G-SYNC displays and Game Ready drivers.

Building the eSports Community

These technologies bring gamers together to compete. With the lion’s share of the gaming GPU market, we have the largest portion of this fanbase. We’ve amassed over 2.5 million Twitter followers worldwide, more than those of the Golden State Warriors, New England Patriots or New York Yankees.

We’ve built a world-class eSports studio in our Silicon Valley headquarters, where we’ve hosted pro teams from around the world — such as Team Secret, Cloud9, INTZ and Team Solomid — for pre-tournament boot camps.

And we’ve built gamer-focused online properties and social media channels — such as and the NVIDIA Gaming Network — to bring players, publishers, teams and tournament operators together.

The Platform of Choice

The result of all this work is that our GeForce hardware is the platform of choice for eSports tournaments and participants. Every major eSports tournament uses the NVIDIA GeForce GTX platform for their competition PCs. And behind the scenes, tournament organizers rely on our GPUs to create live feeds of the action watched by millions.

Our GPU performance is universally recognized as the best in the industry. Our Game Ready drivers are supported by thousands of engineers — and recognized as the benchmark — they’re timely, reliable and just work.

In eSports, the playing field is a computer screen, and GeForce gives gamers — and eSports players — the gear that lets them play their best.