Gaming Trends – Evolution of eSports

The Gaming industry has taken a big step in the past few years with competitive gaming tournaments being held the world over. Electronic sports or eSports refers to organized competitions where pro-gamers or amateur players compete with each other in electronic games for a prize pool. As one of the fastest growing sports in the world, eSports lacks exposure and deeper understanding.

As in any kind of sports, eSports are very competitive, which requires the players to master strategy, reflexes, coordination and technical skills, this skillset translates into game genres such as: RTS (Real-Time Strategy), Fighting, FPS (First Person Shooter) and MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). Some of the top tournament competitions are broadcast live and provide prize money and salaries to competitors.

According to studies, the number of active viewers in 2011, was recorded at 3.5 million for StarCraft II championships. The numbers for Pro Circuit Championship was recorded at 11.7 million active viewers in 2012 which is over a 300% increase in viewership. That number for 2013, was estimated at approximately 71.5 million worldwide watching eSports. This viewership number is expected to increase from 400+ Million to 1B from 2017 – 2019. The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms has helped the eSports competitions gain a bigger support base and help with the growth and promotion.

It was surprising to many that there are people who are willing to watch other people play competitive video games for big money prizes. eSports reaches tens of millions of people on a regular basis, and over a hundred million occasionally – making it comparable to some traditional sports.

Competitive gaming in the early days was fairly different. High scores included in early video games provided a benchmark for comparison between friends or gaming peers.

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The first competitive gaming tournament was held in Stanford University, California, October 1972: a “Spacewar!” tournament, sponsored by “Rolling Stone” with the prize being a year-long free subscription to “Rolling Stone”.

In 1980, Atari hosted “Space Invaders”, game competition on a larger scale, attracting more than 10,000 participants. However, in 1988 eSports took form in the game “Netrek” an internet game for 16 players and technically, the first Internet team game. In 1997, the tournament Red Annihilation was hosted and the first person shooter (FPS) “Quake” game.

In the earlier days of eSports, FPS games such as Quake was the focus; however, the late 90’s saw a breakout in real-time strategy games such as Warcraft and StarCraft.

game-treandsSouth Korea started out first in global eSports and introduced the World Cyber Games (WCG) in 2000. The event attracted players to compete in various games of different genres and had 24-hour TV coverage on special gaming channels.

South Korea started out first in global eSports and introduced the World Cyber Games (WCG) in 2000. The event attracted players to compete in various games of different genres and had 24-hour TV coverage on special gaming channels.

Major League Gaming (MLG), launched in 2002, is now one of the largest and most successful eSports league that hosts a variety of games: FPS, RTS and multiplayer battle online arena (MOBA) games for players : and the prize – hundred-thousand-dollars.

As online streaming and dedicated gaming streams are becoming available, more tournaments are being watched online. Twitch.tv, is such a service where viewers can stream live tournament games with commentaries.

In terms of Prize pools and tournaments held these games are at the top of the list: League of Legends, Dota 2, StarCraft 2, Counterstrike.

League of Legends: 1128 players, 231 tournaments held – grand total of over$10 million in prizes. StarCraft 2: 959 players, 1340 tournaments held – grand total of over $10 million in prizes. This leads to the increase in number of aspiring players playing professionally over the years. Another factor for the rise in this number is more and more players are being recruited by big teams like LGD, Team Liquid, Evil Genius and Fnatic.

Some of the eSports leagues have started as early as 1997, Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) was founded and held its first tournament. Newer Leagues and tournaments starting as late as 2016, such as Call of Duty World League and eGames. Depending on the popularity and feasibility some of them continue to participate in and hold tournaments and some have become defunct.

A lot of kids fantasized about gaming for a living, but it can actually be a reality in recent times given the popularity of gaming and what it offers

Professional players practice their games 6 – 8 hours a day. They have to work on a tight schedule and sometimes this takes demand is more than on someone working an average job. Being a professional requires discipline and a high level of dedication to be able to compete with the best players at their game.

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A PC was benchmarked on how fast it could process a document – the benchmark is now being set by how well the games fun on their machine. Hardware manufacturers have now begun targeting the Gaming Community as part of their marketing strategy.

There are mice and keyboards available to everyone and are marketed with additional functions: additional keys, stylish lighting and multiple profiles to assist gamers, and features that will give them added advantages in the games they play.

Conventions and tournaments held are flooded by millions. Viewership has been growing exponentially over the past few years — in only 4 years it has grown over 15 times in viewership.

The U.S. State Department, allows players from foreign countries to move to the U.S. under specific visas, provided for pro sports players coming to America to work – League of Legends tournament, League Championship Series was recognized as a fully professional sport by the department!!

The community is growing, with continuous effort by developers and support from the gaming community, investors have plenty of reasons to fund and help watch this industry grow larger.

Some are linking the popularity of online video game-related content to eSports. With eSports gaining popularity, websites have popped up which cater to their audience the latest eSports news. Some of the most popular are:

  • Gamespot
  • ESFI World
  • Major League Gaming (better known as MLG)
  • Electronic Sports League
  • JoinDOTA
  • Team Liquid
  • CyberGamer
  • Wargaming.net League

Most of these sites are places for coverage of eSports tournaments, behind the scenes interviews with players, events, articles filled with in-depth analysis about tactics and strategies for popular games. A lot of them also do reviews of competitive PC games.

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