by Matt Weik
Remember when your mom used to tell you to stop playing all those video games and that it’ll rot your brain? Or how about you’re a “geek” if all you do is play video games all day? Well, esports and video games are booming with no end in sight and I believe they are going to pave the way for new supplement innovation. Not only that, but esports and video games are making kids and the younger generation a lot of money. So much so that Ninja is playing video games full-time and making millions of dollars. Now, tell me again how bad video games are when the cash register keeps ringing?
The Esports and Video Game Market is BOOMING
While back in the day my idea of fun was using cheat codes to beat video games, gamers today are going head-to-head with others across the globe and need to be mentally prepared to do battle with someone who wants to rip their face off. Ok, maybe it’s not THAT intense but if you’ve ever watched someone play in a Madden tournament, you’d think they were at an actual football game – it’s extreme.
Looking at recent market research, it is said that the gaming market will grow to be more than $180B by 2021. That’s mind-blowing when you think about it. The president of Ingredients by Nature was quoted saying, “The rising surge of popularity of esports and video gaming as a whole has caught the natural products industry by surprise and therefore somewhat unprepared. Around 70% of US consumers play video games, including via phones, which means the market for gamer-centric formulations is huge. Fortunately, the science is already out there about ingredients supporting cognitive health, eye health, blood sugar levels and other health categories, which all apply to the video game industry. As such, I do believe we will see a lot more suppliers and manufacturers coming out with solutions focused on the esports category and better educating consumers on how they affect overall health and performance.”
Here’s the interesting part and something I don’t exactly agree with. Many are now touting gamers as “athletes.” This has me scratching my head. By definition, an athlete is “a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.” Gamers aren’t exactly engaging in any form of exercise when they are playing video games, so I have a hard time categorizing them as an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. I’m sure that will piss off a bunch of people in the gaming community but that’s how I feel.
To me, a gamer is his or her own category. They’re a “gamer” and not an “athlete.” Let’s not confuse the two. You don’t need to be athletic to be a gamer. But that’s not to say that the supplement industry shouldn’t be paying attention to them and how they can provide those who engage in esports and video games with an advantage as well as health benefits.
New Supplement Innovation Thanks to Esports and Gaming Industry
While most of the supplements on the market right now are not directed at gamers, there is some crossover. Nootropics are huge in the gaming community as are energy drinks and caffeine supplements. With the increased focus on esports and video games, we have seen more and more supplement companies shifting some of their focus or creating a completely separate line of products for gamers.
When you think about the wants and needs of gamers, it all boils down to memory, cognition, focus, mental performance, reaction time, eye health, and overall energy levels and endurance. Supplement brands are putting more of their focus on ingredients and profiles that fit these needs.
And although the target market for such supplements mentioned is on gamers, they can be rolled into the general population as well. For instance, nootropics can be extremely advantageous for gamers. However, before nootropics were getting any buzz, I wanted MET-Rx (who I worked for at the time) to launch a product that the average American could use to help them stay productive and focused at work and school. What type of product was it? Nootropics. These types of products could even be used with athletes such as golfers, bowlers, tennis players, shooters (shooting sports), heck… any athlete who needs to be extremely focused and wants an increase in mental performance.
You can also think of the whole CBD craze going on right now. Everyone and their brother are trying to get their hands on CBD products to help them relax along with all of the health benefits. I see nootropics and gaming supplements fitting the same mold.
The whole energy drink push I feel is going to fizzle out over the next few years (but not completely, simply slow down) and the movement towards nootropics will step in. Energy drinks taste great, give you energy, but many can give you a crash – something gamers can’t afford when they need to maintain a heightened level of mental performance when playing. Regardless if the energy drink is full of caffeine or is caffeine-free, people (right now) are buying them by the case and you see them popping up in retailers across the nation.
With more and more focus being put on esports and video games, it provides the perfect storm for supplement brands to potentially shift some of their focus or for new brands to emerge. While we can’t say ALL gamers have poor nutrition, it’s quite common to see them snacking on items throughout the day rather than taking the time to make a healthy meal that is made up of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates for sustained energy without the blood sugar spike that sends their energy on a roller coaster ride.
I’m excited to see what supplements are brought to the market in the next year. It is my opinion that we have only scratched the surface as to what will be available. And don’t be surprised if you see some of the supplement brands we are used to seeing in the fitness industry going after the gaming industry and sponsoring events and possibly even some gamers themselves (or at least have some sort of affiliation with them).
Source: NutraIngredients USA