eSports and Antitrust Law
30 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2022 Last revised: 2 Nov 2022
Date Written: October 31, 2022
The eSports sector has greatly matured over the past years, developing into a fully-fledged, multi-facetted industry sector in its own right. Game publishers bring together entire digital ecosystems that comprise a multitude of actors, ranging from professional players and teams to amateur players and fans, leagues, broadcasters, advertisers, betting companies and sponsors. While antitrust law has increasingly focused on digital platforms in recent years, the strong reliance of eSports on intellectual property rights adds a new dimension to the antitrust debate. This contribution applies knowledge that competition law has gathered in digital platforms to the specific setting of eSports. It provides an overview of the competition law challenges that must be addressed in the eSports sector, including how to define the relevant antitrust market(s), how to conceptualize market power in this dynamic ecosystem, the types of anti-competitive agreements that one may find in eSports, potential abusive behaviour by powerful eSports publishers, and the question of external growth through mergers.
Keywords: competition law, digital markets, eSports, gaming, market power, video games
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