Online gaming is, by far, the world’s biggest and richest form of entertainment — towering over the growth and influence of the film, music, and traditional sports industries. One of its elements, esports (electronic sports), is an emerging major phenomenon currently valued at $1.1 billion, which is a 15.7% growth every year. Quite impressive and exciting, right? Sadly, it also leads to unique legal issues, and one notable example is in Canada.
Growth leads to new legal challenges
Around the last two weeks of August, a western and northern regional business law firm named Emerging Technologies Group at Field Law announced their alliance with the Alberta Esports Association (AESA). The latter, as the name suggests, is a not-for-profit governing body for provincial esports in Alberta.
The alliance’s purpose is for Field Law to address AESA’s legal questions in creating a sound and concrete esports regulatory framework for Alberta. That is because two decades have passed, and online gaming and esports Canada have yet to set up national and provincial standards.
‘The world of esports can be complex from a legal perspective, and we are looking forward to providing leadership, counsel and support for this emerging industry’, according to Partner and Chair of Field Law Erika Carrasco.
Such areas to be covered in Field Law and AESA’s collaborative mission include cyber, immigration, gaming and betting, and intellectual property. In other words, it is a community-based approach towards bettering and strengthening Alberta’s esports industry. The standards shall protect pro gamers, increase their engagement, build esports academic institutions and local businesses.
The impressive growth of esports in Canada
According to Newzoo, online gaming’s global market in 2019 was worth $152 billion and is expected to reach $196 billion by 2022. Almost half of these resounding numbers are from the Asia-Pacific region, then the rest are followed by the U.S, China, Europe/Middle East Africa, Latin America, and Canada.
Canada’s online gaming popularity paved the way for it to become a rising powerhouse in the competitive stage of esports. Having about 21.2 million active players and 1.5 million esports spectators per month, it’s no wonder that it is also the home to some of North America’s major tournaments, organisations, and talented pro gamers.
Esports Canada through the lens of Twitter
Thanks to the data report of social media giant Twitter, Canada’s most talked or ‘tweeted’ about esports leagues in 2020 were as follows:
- Call of Duty League
- Overwatch League
- League of Legends Championship Series
- League of Legends European Championship
- NBA 2K League
Whether supported or criticised, Canada’s most mentioned esports franchises were the following:
- FaZe Clan
- Team SoloMid
- Toronto Ultra
- G2 Esports