The growth of the entertainment and eSports sector in recent years has been evident in the Valencian tech and innovation ecosystem. According to the Startup Observatory of the Valencian Community, a report prepared by Startup Valencia, it has been one of the fastest-growing sectors in the past year. Notably, the number of startups established in this field increased by 8.93%.

Javier Guerrero, CEO at INDYA, pointed out that Valencia ‘is gaining recognition beyond Spain as an innovation cluster, indicating that things are going in the right direction.’

Pablo Valencia, CEO and co-founder of Patronus, echoed this sentiment, emphasising that the Valencian ecosystem ‘is positioning the city of Valencia at the centre of Spanish innovation, with entrepreneurs at the forefront of Spanish entrepreneurship and with countless opportunities for developing projects with a global perspective.’

For Jon Fermín San Julián, from ENCOM, ‘the city is witnessing one of its most promising periods, and all indicators point towards continued growth in the industry in the coming years’.

One of the primary drivers behind the growth of this sector lies not only in the rising number of digital natives seeking entertainment through tech tools or virtual worlds but in brands’ realisation of the significance of establishing a presence where their target audience is actively engaged.

Yago Feito, COO at StadioPlus, argued that ‘the most innovative brands are fully aware of the rapid technological advancements and the importance of adaptation. They have capitalised on the opportunity presented by technological evolution to create their own digital solutions, leveraging the benefits offered by video games in terms of fan engagement. Through these solutions, they can establish a direct connection with their existing and potential fans, creating a fresh avenue to strengthen the brand-fan relationship’.

Regarding the implementation, acceptance and adoption of digital tools, Pablo Valencia added that they should also be incorporated into education and made accessible ‘regardless of socioeconomic background’.

Furthermore, there is a growing trend of brands investing in their presence at events like DreamHack, ‘because they are beginning to recognise the tremendous power of direct and physical connection with the audience’, stated Jon Fermín San Julián.

For startups in the sector, international events such as the Valencia Digital Summit play a vital role in promoting and popularising companies, as well as the entire sector. Yago Feito highlighted that ’these events act as catalysts, driving national talent forward, attracting international talent to showcase their creations and new launches, and establishing professional relationships that further nurture the potential of the ecosystem, both within and beyond our borders’.

As Javier Guerrero said, ‘Any initiative that brings the latest tech trends into focus and fosters networking and synergy between projects is undeniably beneficial’.

The ecosystem possesses all the necessary components to establish the eSports sector as a dynamic and emerging industry. Within this field, startups have great contributions to make, potentially transforming the region into a global benchmark for tech entertainment.