One of the biggest misconceptions and mistakes that brands are making is using the terms “esports” and “gaming” interchangeably. While it is often assumed that all esports fans and gamers have the same habits and influencers, a close analysis highlights notable nuances across the two. Understanding these nuances is essential when developing a strategy for entry into this burgeoning space. And, while the allure of reaching a global audience is strong, it’s important that marketers don’t paint them with a broad brush.


When it comes to the growing worlds of esports and gaming, there is an array of angles that brands can approach when activating to connect to their target audiences. At Taylor, we believe understanding these angles is so important that we have put together a three-part series. In this series, we outline the key differences between esports and gaming, the guiding principles to activate within this space and finally tools you can use to drive brand affinity.


Here, we will highlight the key differences between esports and gaming.




What is Gaming?


Gaming is the action or practice of playing video games. Gamers or Gaming enthusiasts are individuals who enjoy an array of titles, which can range from single player to multiplayer, and which may or may not have a competitive element to them. Examples of titles include Super Smash Bros, Spider-Man, Clash Royale, and the Sims. Additionally, it is important to note that gaming can involve competitive games, but this does not automatically qualify gaming as esports.




What is Esports?

Esports is shortened from the term “Electronic Sports” and is also known as “competitive video gaming, professional gaming.” These are in the form of competitions held on specific multiplayer online video game platforms that have team-based elements, such as: Overwatch, Call of Duty, League Of Legends, or single player-based strategy elements, such as: Hearthstone and Starcraft 2. These competitions dish out prize pools from $1 million – $100 million and have inevitably hit mainstream media, resulting in some confusion as to the difference between games generally and esports specifically.


Esports Players vs. Casual Gamers

A way I like to distinguish between the two is to compare esports to traditional professional sports. For example, when considering basketball, anyone can shoot around for a couple of hours every Saturday, or engage in a pickup basketball game at the local YMCA on the weekends. This would be comparable to a casual gamer, who spends two to three hours a week gaming. For many people, 10-15 hours a month may seem like a lot of time spent video gaming or playing basketball. However, from the perspective of a professional NBA player or professional gamer/esports player, this pales in comparison to the 10-15 hours a day they spend perfecting their craft.


In conclusion, knowing the difference between ‘gaming’ and ‘esports’ is a slight, but pertinent distinction important to understand when crafting brand marketing campaigns for respective audiences. Also of note is the wide spread of the audience demographics (i.e.: age and gender), as well as the influencers and marketing tactics that resonate within each group.


Stay tuned for Part II of our Esports vs. Gaming series where we will highlight: “Esports vs. Gaming: Guiding Principles for Brands to Activate in the Space.”