Esports have grown in popularity in the last ten years, even though they have been around since the 1970s. This has been the case since the first video game home consoles were introduced. As early as November of 1980, nationwide competitions of Space Invaders were held through the United States and Canada. The practice grew in prominence in the next decade, with contenders for titles such as Street Fighter II.
Although seen as a quirky competition among friends back then, esports have grown in popularity and acceptance today. Also, in global market value, fast becoming a billion dollars industry. To be exact, US$1.38 billion as of 2022, and the phenomenon doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon. It will be as high as US$1.87 billion by 2025.
Esports have an international appeal that encompasses dozens of gaming titles. These are spread throughout categories like First Person Shooters, Fighting Games, and Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas. South Korea and China are the top representatives in the wide variety of tournaments held every year.
The Fantasy Esports experience
But what exactly is it? It is a game of skills and predictions. Fantasy esports players make the best use of their inside knowledge about real-life esports athletes and their performances. Fantasy esports players build a dream team out of real-life esports players based on their stats. Players earn Fantasy Points based on their real-time performance in actual esports tournaments.
But of course, people these days expect much more than just this. It is alright to earn fantasy points, but what if people’s inside knowledge of esports could be rewarded? That is exactly what various startups worldwide are doing. They are bringing enthusiastic esports fans into their fold and translating their fantasy points into airtime top up and data bundle top up rewards.
There are various examples of successful companies doing this. For example, FanClash was founded back in 2020 and is currently India’s top Fantasy Esports platform. For Richa Singh, one of the company’s co-founders, the focus of growth is on rewarding the fans for their knowledge.
What is Airtime? What about Data Bundle Top Ups?
For some people, the question is obvious. What is airtime? That’s the time a person has available to talk on their mobile phones. Airtime is a commodity in many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where prepaid plans are common. It sometimes works as currency too. Airtime is used to keep in touch with family and friends, but also to conduct business. In countries like India, where esports are big, airtime is almost like money.
All of this is fine, but what are data bundles? These are packages of gigabytes used to access the internet through a mobile phone. These data bundles are usually sold by merchants, but esports platforms can use them as part of their rewards program.
What better way to engage esports players, than to reward them with airtime or data bundles?
Esport players Rewarded with Airtime and Data Bundle Top-ups
It is no surprise that entrepreneurs are fast looking at ways to work with esports. Making a career as an esports player is fast becoming a lucrative alternative for many people. But now, it is also possible to earn rewards by being good at predicting results. This is the core of Fantasy Esports. It is an industry that is implementing innovative rewarding systems to engage their player. All of it through technologies like Reloadly’s API for top ups for airtime and data bundles.
Asia, on top of doing rewards by sending Airtime
How does FanClash do it? Users are given a budget of 40 credits. They use them to build their Fantasy Team from a large pool of real-life players. These are expert players of titles such as Call of Duty Mobile, Counter Strike Global Offensive, Valorant, and Free Fire. The user’s Fantasy Team earns points whenever the real players perform well and win in real-life tournaments. This translates into juicy rewards. It is a very simple, straightforward approach to gamifying the actual experience of enjoying esports.
Accordingly, last year FanClash managed to raise a US$ 40 million investment. This quickly positioned them as one of the leading Fantasy Esports platforms worldwide. They started serving the Philippines in July last year and plan to expand into the United States in 2023. As esports fandom grows, FanClash intends to use the money to hire the best talent to grow their product. This, in turn, will offer a wide rooster of benefits for the user. All of this because esports will be the next big thing in the gaming industry.
Europe is not left behind
Although fantasy esports are big in Asia, Europe also has its share of enthusiasts, and a variety of other services mix up the offer pool. Some of them remain focused on esports the way we have described them, like Sweden’s E-Go App. Founded in 2019 with just five employees. It is becoming one of Europe’s upcoming fantasy esports promises.
Their platform offers calendars, virtual coach competitions, live fantasy gaming, and player rewards. Their goal is to unify the entire fantasy esports community, but they are still small and have a long way to cover. Founder and CEO Viktor Masey has described it as a challenge, a little startup adventure that is worth it after years of working in the Swedish banking industry.
Other platforms specialize in traditional sports but still reward fantasy players for their insight and knowledge, like Sorare. With it, players act as fantasy managers of real-life football, basketball, and baseball athletes. They use blockchain technology to generate player cards, which are used to build a fantasy team with. Like FanClash, these teams are ranked based on the real players’ performance in the gaming field, and users are rewarded accordingly.
Sorare is one of Europe’s biggest fantasy sports platforms. It is endorsed by many top athletes and organizations. Because of this, it is a prime example of gamifying the fan experience. It points at future where other industries and entertainment outlets will incorporate similar reward-based approaches.
Africa as well
Similar to Sorare, but focused exclusively on football, Vodacom Fantasy offers airtime top up rewards to Vodacom subscribers. Players can build their fantasy teams from a large pool of the best athletes in Africa and Europe. They then compete against each other to climb the leaderboards to obtain their prices.
However, this is a benefit exclusive to Vodacom users. However,t it may soon become something that other mobile service providers will apply to their clientele. Players receive their rewards, usually in the form of airtime or data bundle top ups. Of course, there is also the possibility of letting the users receive a digital gift card that can be traded for juicy products. An API like Reloadly’s mediates all of this.
Rewarding the fantasy esport players with Reloadly’s API for top ups
The rewards given to the players is the real meat of these platforms. These rewards can be airtime or data top ups. Players receive these rewards through a reliable API like the one offered by Reloadly. Why so? Because massive and daily rewards require intensive technical work. These rewards can be transfered securely with a sharp tool. A system that won’t crash, backed up by a dedicated team of professionals.
Reloadly’s API for top ups works as a toolbox that companies and services can creatively use for their ends. Reward-based companies have contacted Reloadly because they are looking for a reliable partner to facilitate their reward scheme. Experiences with previous companies convinced them that Reloadly’s system is a secure means to send data and top-ups to their clients. It also offers a technical and support service of the best quality available.
It is important to have a flexible API to mediate your rewards
Let’s retake India’s FanClash as an example: There are over 100 million viewers of esports in India. A percentage of that viewership practices Fantasy esports and they enjoy FanClash’s program. Reward volume must be high every day, and sometimes the service can be so intensive that systems collapse. This results in irritated customers. An API for top ups like Reloadly’s avoids this kind of technical problems. It is easy to integrate, and even easier to use.