Why are esports so big in Sweden?

Albert Sheng • June 11, 07:53

Despite having a population of only 10.23 million, the Scandinavian country of Sweden is well known for its esports reputation. With players like Gustav “S4” Magnusson,Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg, and Johan “Pieliedie” Åström coming out of Sweden, it’s clear that the country develops some of the globe’s top esports talent. 

Sweden also has a leading grassroots esports program, ensuring that junior players get a level of support that is on par with that of the professionals. Initiatives as part of the grassroots support include youth camps, training sessions for football, and a strict code of conduct for players, parents, and organizers which holds those involved to the highest of standards.

Esports education is taken very seriously

Were you imagining a teenager in their room on an esports website to learn the ropes? Well, Sweden takes esports so seriously that it can now be pursued as a viable route of higher education. 

The adult education center of Strömbäcks Folkhögskola has recently created a one-year course in esports in order to teach the country’s next top gaming talent. The school commented that they are particularly looking forward to developing the next Swedish female gaming star. 

As the country’s first higher education course for gaming professionals, the school is even able to offer state funded aid, making their esports courses that focus on counter strike tactics accessible for everyone. 

A respected part of Swedish culture

Due to the flexible leasing schemes for households, allowing them to own their own computer in the late 80’s, esports culture has been ingrained in the population since the early 90’s. Competitive gaming is certainly no new concept in Sweden. 

It’s believed that the widespread popularity of esports across Sweden has also been supported by fast and accessible broadband, making esports highly accessible to the wider population. Even before many other surrounding countries.  

In light of this early internet adoption, Swedish residents are also able to access a wide variety of other online games including an online casino, as well as live streaming platforms and technologies like VR. 

A passion for esports spectatorship 

The Swedish population not only takes esports seriously as a career where they pursue higher education, but also as an important pastime. A recent study conducted in 2018 has found that Sweden is the second biggest market in Europe for esports consumption, based on merchandise purchases and brand interactions reported by sponsors. 

It’s said that one of the best ways to learn is by watching the professionals and the Swedes really take this to heart by attending a huge amount of esports events. 

Budding entrepreneurship 

There are currently thought to be a total of 13 esports startups in Sweden. Such platforms offer great deals and extremely flexible play, including player to player tournaments, flexible monetary payment options and social gaming features that are revolutionizing the esports industry. 

Some of today’s top esports entrepreneurs include: 

  • Challengermode – a competitive gaming platform
  • Znipe – an eSports streaming platform
  • Betspawn – Online eSports betting platform based out of Sweden
  • Epulze – Online eSports competitive gaming platform involving real money
  • Arrowhead Game Studios AB – Game development studio based in Sweden

Esports tournaments

It just so happens that Sweden is home to Dreamhack’s esports tournaments; the biggest esports competition in the world. This initiative began years ago in the basement, but now many of these tournaments are some of the largest and vest in the world. 

A promising career

While there are many higher education pathways that seem to almost be a scam, the eSports route is now highly accessible to those that are more local. 

As a booming part of the economy, there are already a total of around 437 active pro esports players in Sweden and a population of 60% of people playing online games. This pre-conditioned mindset that esports is a valued part of the community encourages young people that esports can be a profession, encouraging the next talented youngster to join the industry.

Overall, it is clear that Sweden is leading the way in computerized technology, with computer literacy being adopted from a young age. This factor, alongside an abundance of industry role models, future job prospects and community respect meant that more people than ever are now itching at the chance to take up gaming as a career. 

As for popularity, whether it is professional or purely for entertainment purposes, there are an abundance of resources available for future generations to get into esports. 

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