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The Future of eSports in Ukraine

Article writer: Elliot Clark

A specialised webinar on the eSports sphere and its growth prospects was held in Ukraine. Artur Yermolayev, the President of the Ukrainian Cybersport Federation, became a participant in the conference.

eSports industry in Ukraine: future

In his review, the analyst spoke about the successes in the industry, peaks of activity, and recessions during the quarantine period. The expert also shared his views on the trends in the eSports market this year.

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Brief Info about the eSports team Windigo Gaming

The wagering brand was founded in 2017. The largest virtual entertainment space in Europe, Windigo Arena, was launched on its basis.

Already in 2018, the Ukrainian development studio entered the list of the top 20 CS: GO cyber teams and took first place at the World Championship in China (WEGS 2018 World Finals).

In the same year, Artur Yermolayev took part in the founding of the Ukrainian eSports Federation and became its president. The guest of the webinar is also a co-founder of the European eSports Federation.

The Concept of eSports

According to the expert, the eSports field is often confused with traditional online gaming. This is one of the fundamental elements of virtual play, but with a pronounced sports component.

Not every person who plays games on a console is considered a sportsman. However, this is a regular participant in tournaments and the entire wagering ecosystem. International championships are at the top of this pyramid.

The Achievements of Ukrainian eSports

Ukrainian eSports business: achievements

A lot can be said about the Ukrainian eSports field and its achievements. For example, there are many organisations aimed at the development of the industry with local investors and owners today. Moreover, representative offices of Ukrainian enterprises are actively opening around the world.

It is also worth noting the professionalism of the athletes. There are lots of teams and individual players who actively participate in international championships and have repeatedly won prizes.

Arthur notices:

Ukraine is a very recognisable and respected state in the eSports market.

According to the expert, the development prospects are optimistic due to the huge audience and talented specialists who can grow professionally in several disciplines at once.

The Issues of the Wagering Industry

One of the main problems is that cybersport is not recognised as a legal activity. It is not supported by the state apparatus in any way. Besides, the country does not have legal regulations for this field.

The Ukrainian eSport Federation, headed by Artur Yermolayev, is an open organisation voluntarily that does not have a national status and the ability to receive administrative and state support. For example, to hold mass events and local tournaments, the expert and his team have to attract an audience without state assistance.

Arthur found a way out by creating interactive educational options. eSports in Ukraine, with the support of the local federation, began to be equated to higher education. This is a very promising private project that allows attracting a young audience with high potential to the industry.

The Benefits of eSports Legalisation for Ukraine

A striking example of the advantages and prospects of the legal market is the work of private industry organisations.

Local businesses:

  • provide jobs with good competitive salaries;
  • attract tourist flow, local and foreign investments;
  • create additional GDP in the Ukrainian economy.

The legalisation of the industry would greatly facilitate many organisational issues:

  • the support for international championships;
  • the creation of infrastructure and a visa regime for foreign and domestic tournaments with foreign participants.

eSports during the Pandemic

As a rule, international big championships are held offline. Whole stadiums of people gather to watch the competitions of top teams.

Due to the situation with COVID-19, eSports tournaments, like other mass events, were cancelled around the world.

If we talk about less-status industry events, all of them were held online. The advantages of such a transition are a record growth in views and a massive activation of the audience.

The global pandemic has led to a huge increase in interest in the eSports field. Many tournaments were held on a charitable basis. However, the expert believes that the professional eSports area has suffered greatly due to the cancellation of the most significant and major offline competitions.

How Did the Niche Survive the Crisis?

Arthur notices:

Our main “weapon” was the continuation of the transition to online mode.

The expert indicates the mass popularisation of the sphere and the regular launch of new network computer clubs.

Mr Yermolayev continues:

All that remained for us was to just wait out this period online. Unlike traditional sports, times were not the worst for eSports.

The analyst also notes the active growth of interest in the field from bookmakers. Betting operators began to offer a large selection of virtual sports events to retain their audience. This also had a positive impact on the development of the industry.

Ukrainian eSports in the International Arena

Ukrainian eSports in the international arena

Artur Yermolayev is one of the co-founders of the European eSports Federation. Today, it includes 27 countries. According to the specialist, international relations in the niche are open to the full and continue to attract new participants and investors.

Artur's organisation is currently working with Korean industry representatives that hold large-scale global events and also works privately with smaller companies.

Investment Issues

The industry’s financial assistance is a vague term. If we talk about investing in world-class professional teams, the market is oversaturated and interesting for large concerns and brands (even not gaming ones).

If we consider the field in general, the eSports direction is one of the longest payback projects. Organising a team and its fan base from scratch is always more of a private initiative than a solution for established brands. Therefore, young participants have to make a statement about themselves thanks to their talents.

In Ukraine, an active growth in the number of professional commercial investors aimed at finding new promising teams is observed. Moreover, agreements are concluded both at the local and international levels.

Quite often, Ukrainian investors even buy out players (as in football and other traditional sports). Funds are directed to the sphere not to make a quick profit, but to occupy a niche in an actively developing market segment.

As soon as eSports is legalised, the area will attract a wide range of investors. These will be both large brands and private organisations, which can be seen in the example of industry cases in the United States.

The Main Things about the Prospects of eSports

According to the expert, eSports will actively develop in the online field in the next six months.

  • The growth of the eSports audience, the number of new teams and individual participants, as well as the quality of the events themselves is expected.
  • The industry returned to its former development mode when the situation with the pandemic stabilised. Full-scale offline tournaments became available again.
  • Bookmakers play an important role in the growth of eSports. If we analyse global trends, eSports competitions will have more viewers than the Olympic Games in a couple of years.
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Elliot Clark


Elliot Clark


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