Esports are all the rage these days, with the industry growing beyond everyone’s expectations. Millions of people tune in to watch their favorite teams beat their rivals in esport games such as Fortnite and Rocket League, and professional sports tournaments fill huge stadiums worldwide.
But if you’re new to this whole phenomenon, what is it exactly, and why is it so popular? Here’s everything you should know.
What Are Esports?
Esports are organized video game competitions where gamers compete for prestige and large cash prizes. These tournaments range from small-scale local matches to international matches that fill huge stadiums.
Brief History of Esports
Even though many believe that esports games are a recent phenomenon, video game tournaments have been held since the 1970s. In fact, Stanford University held the first esports event in 1972, where students competed in Spacewar, and instead of money, the prize was a year-long subscription to Rolling Stone Magazine.
After that, the first esports tournament was held in the ‘80s. Thousands of people gathered for the Space Invaders Championship. As the years passed, gaming gained more popularity, but in the ‘90s, esports really took off when big names like Sega and Nintendo started holding professional tournaments. It was also during this time that people started to play games to win prize money.
Finally, the Red Annihilation Quake tournament was held in 1997, with 200 gamers competing for the grand prize. This was considered the first real esports event.
While there are many esports genres, the most popular ones include FPS, RTS, fighting games, and MOBA. If you’re new to gaming, you might be baffled by these genres. So let’s quickly get into them to see what they entail and the titles that fall into these genres.
If you’ve ever played or even seen clips of games like Call of Duty or Halo, then you’re familiar with FPS or first-person shooters. In FPS games, gamers control just one character and play the whole game from a first-person POV.
To succeed at FPS games, you must memorize the arena maps, master different weapons, and be able to quickly respond and position yourself so that you don’t get killed.
Apart from the Call of Duty series, the Counter-Strike series is also a hugely popular FPS game.
RTS or real-time strategy games usually involve war games, and to be able to win, you should be able to strategically place different units of an army, each with various weaknesses and strengths, across a map. While it sounds easy, positioning your army in the most effective way has its challenges.
If you want to succeed in RTS games, you should know how to multitask. You will have to understand the map, build a base, conserve materials, and gather resources while keeping yourself safe from enemies.
Famous examples of RTS games include League of Legends and the StarCraft series.
MOBA or multiplayer online battle arena games are all the hype these days, primarily due to the stability of online servers that allow players to play online together.
MOBA games are a lot like RTS games, but they also allow gamers to carry out attacks whenever they want (think Fortnite). The main objective of all MOBA games is to destroy the opposite team’s base using spawned attack resources.
Apart from Fortnite, other famous MOBA titles include Dota2, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm.
Even if your gaming experience is limited to the arcade games you played in your childhood, there’s a high chance that you’ve played a fighting game. Famous examples of these games include Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and everyone’s favorite, Street Fighter.
These games typically allow gamers to control a character in a 1v1 battle against another player. Instead of weapons, martial art is primarily a method of combat, and to win, you need to master timing and combos and should be able to judge distance.
Estimates suggest that over $676,000,000 has been paid as prize money in esports. In fact, the prize pool of the 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals was over $15,000,000!
Esports players can earn as much as $3,000,000 per year. Successful esports players often make more money than professional marathon-runners, golfers, and cyclists!
Where to watch esports
Nearly all esports events are broadcasted on popular video streaming platforms such as YouTube, Mixer, and Twitch. The genuine fun of esports events, though, is attending them in person. You can buy tickets for big tournaments online from the organizers’ website or through dedicated ticket retailers.
Smaller esports tournaments are also often live-streamed. You can know more about esports gaming events nearby through local gaming communities, gaming conventions, and social media groups.
What’s next for esports?
Esports has already secured its spot in the overall gaming world, and it’s only expected to grow more in the years to come. This is particularly because people love watching professional gamers compete, especially in high-intensity competitions. Add in drama, compelling storytelling, rivalries, and super fans providing unwavering support to their favorite team, and you have an industry full of opportunities.
And as they become more popular, we can expect to see new technological advancements that further boost the industry. It’s safe to say that though the esports industry is still in its infancy, it will be exciting to see how it shapes up in the upcoming years!