Japan’s esports market grew to ¥4.8 billion (about $42.5 million) this year, marking a thirteenfold increase from last year, gaming industry publisher Gzbrain Inc. said Tuesday.
A survey by Gzbrain, which publishes popular video game magazine Famitsu, tracked a massive jump in revenue since the legalization of competitive video gaming in February, following the establishment of the Japan Esports Union. Professional licenses have since been issued for pro gamers.
With many new competitions planned, Japan’s esports fan base is expected to grow further, with the domestic market forecast to swell to ¥10 billion in 2022.
Players and advocates of competitive gaming have sought to get esports added to the Olympic program amid a boom in global popularity.
The International Olympic Committee, however, has said talk of including esports is still “premature,” and the organizers of the 2024 Paris Games have confirmed it will not be proposed as an additional event.
Esports debuted at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia in August as a demonstration sport and will be contested as a medal event at the 2022 quadrennial in Hangzhou, China.
Three of the sports debuting at the 2020 Tokyo Games — sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding — have a similarly youthful fan base to esports, giving proponents of video gaming at the Olympics cause for hope.