Ready Player 1: Examining the World of E-sports

Authors: Peter E. Anandranistakis, Graham Christie, Mahdi Shams

The e-sports world is quickly gaining popularity as more sports and gaming enthusiasts turn to online gaming during a time of social distancing.

E-sports are video games played by multiple participants in a highly-organized competitive environment using an online platform. The primary aspects of the game are facilitated by electronic systems and broadcast to an engaged online audience.

Despite the widespread socioeconomic disruptions caused by COVID-19, the online gaming industry is burgeoning. E-sports offers an engaging alternative for a market of highly engaged consumers seeking leisure activity and stimulation during a time where limited social interactions are the norm.

As the e-sports space becomes more mainstream and grows more complex, there are unique concerns from a legal standpoint. While the growth brings opportunities, it is prudent for industry participants to examine these legal considerations:

  • Travel/immigration
  • Gaming/gambling regulations
  • Team, league, and event organization issues (competition organization and talent acquisition and management)
  • Contract considerations and issues
  • Intellectual property ownership, licensing and broadcasting
  • Real property issues for design and development of e-sports arenas and venues

We are launching an e-sports blog series which will highlight key legal and business issues that stakeholders in the e-sports ecosystem should consider as they navigate the growth of the industry. This area is evolving rapidly and we will continue to add topics as legal considerations change.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.