The two organizations will be working together to study «consumer behavior and fandom» in esports. Particularly, the two companies plan to explore whether individuals who watch esports are more likely to play video games.
Skillshot Media, a division of SMITE developer Hi-Rez Studios, announced a partnership with the Marketing Analytics Center at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, today.
Titled the «Esports Fandom Research Initiative«, the study builds on previous work being done at Emory and will analyze how viewing esports might influence «consumer interest».
Such a study will have multiple uses, including providing ways for companies to recognize and take advantage of various business opportunities.
The first two planned projects under this initiative will study «the interplay between watching and participation» in esports, as well as «consumer behavior in the video gaming industry».
The main goal of the study is to provide insight into the growing interest in esports so that businesses, sponsors, and media might better understand its underlying facets. The goal is to not only better understand what fans want and why but to also make more informed business decisions where necessary.
Todd Harris, President of Skillshot Media and co-founder of Hi-Rez Studios, said of the partnership and study:
Most leading game publishers now have an intuition that an esports ecosystem supports higher player engagement and perhaps even higher in-game monetization. We certainly share this hypothesis and are excited to test it more rigorously.
We’ll be supporting this experienced Emory research team to better quantify the relationship between watching esports and playing esports, which should help inform publishers and other partners on their esports investment and expected return.
Prior to announcing the EFRI, the Emory Marketing Analytics Center has conducted studies related to fandom in a variety of categories – including sports and politics.