The Rise of eSports
eSports, also known as electronic sports or e-sports, is primarily a competitive and professional form of video gaming, where players and teams compete against each other through the facilitation of an electronic system. It is an industry currently valued at over 500 million US dollars.
The tournaments happen in a very organised way and with a multi-player scenario. It takes place between professional players, and focuses mostly on games with real-time strategy, including fighting, first-person shooter games, and battle arena games that allow for multiple players.
eSports is a multi-million-dollar industry with millions of fans worldwide, and constitutes the fastest growing arena of professional games in the world. Popular international tournaments include the League of Legends World Championship, the Evolution Championship Series, and the Battle.net World Championship Series.
The world of eSports as it currently exists started just over a decade ago, at which point it consisted only of relatively small events with amateur players. Now, the eSports tournaments are massive and involve professional players and teams, with often millions in sponsorship, prizes, and opportunities.
Competitions have long been part and parcel of the video game community, but the spectatorship of such events only really started in the late 2000s. It has grown quickly since then, and many video game developers now design games specifically for eSports competitions, keeping the interactive and spectator principles in mind in their designs.
The Type of Games
Not all video games are suitable for eSports. Those having to do with fighting sequences and online battle arenas are superbly popular and lend themselves well to the eSports community. Popular games include MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games such as League of Legends and Dota 2, as well as the first-person shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. These types of games require a certain amount of skill on behalf of the player and are interesting for audiences to watch.
Not Just a Game
eSports have been criticised as being nothing more than a bunch of gamers playing video games. However, even though it may have started like that, this is no longer the case. Most eSports players are professionals and spend an intense amount of time training in order to compete in eSports tournaments.
The popularity of the eSports industry has gotten considerable attention, and it is now open to sponsorship from a variety of industries, making it a million-dollar industry. It has even caught the attention of some universities, which now offer eSports scholarships for young potentials to enter the academic arena.
A Global Sport
Estimations gather that over 200 million people watch eSports all over the world. Online streaming platforms have made this reach popular, as tournaments can take place in a city with thousands of actual spectators, and then be streamed live to millions more via the internet. The most popular media platform streaming eSports is Twitch.tv. This platform has become central to the popularity in eSports and the growth of it.