If you have been keeping up with emerging trends in sports, then the term “esports” shouldn’t be new to you. However, you might be wondering what exactly are esports and how did it come about. Here is everything you need to know to become well-versed in one of the fastest-growing sports industries in the world!
To begin, I’m going to give you a brief overview of how electronic sports even came to be. The early stages began in the 50s just as video games were becoming popular, but scores didn’t matter until the 60s when two-player games started to become popular and the standard for game makers.
The formatting of the games was a little different than what we are used to today, where it’s multiplayer in the sense that both play at the same time. Instead, one player would go first and set the score for the second player to beat. Decades later, in the late 80s and 90s, gaming systems adopted new technology with the internet and ethernet.
Esports makes it easy for people to join and watch with the new streaming services such as Twitch, founded in 2011, and with the internet, people can play from just about anywhere. Viewership has reached more than 73 million people watching the 2021 ‘League of Legends’ World Championship final; the game itself has more than 100 million players monthly. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to become a top player; every day, there are multiple games and leagues, as well as matches, that occur on a daily basis.
Compared to Traditional Sports
Esports and traditional sports differ on many levels; I mean, obviously, for one, it’s electronic and doesn’t require a player to be physically fit, while traditional ones need a certain level of fitness. Within electronic sports, it’s hard to get started and figure out which league is the best fit for you, as there are so many with different performance levels.
There isn’t a standard plan to follow, whereas traditional sports follow certain rules and can be easier for people to get into and excel. But once a player is able to find the game that matches their skill level and creates a certain drive to get better, then finding matches won’t be an issue.
Tournaments are the driving force in creating excitement around this up-and-coming branch of sports as it has monetary rewards for teams and players depending on if it’s a single-player game or multiplayer. Twitch and Youtube are great resources to find more low stake matches of top players playing with other popular players for fun rather than competitively, but it is a great way to understand the culture within this sub-group of sports.
There is no specific season for esports; it’s an all-year sport with different events organized by independent organizations. Compared to the NFL or NBA, with one singular league to compare all the players’ stats over the season, esports players or teams are independent and don’t rely on the same overarching company to collect their data.
Hub of Esports
This is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the leader of this within the past decade has been Korea, as it was one of the first countries to view electronic sports as legitimate and even a job.
Not only that but within their school systems, there are programs that focus primarily on esports alongside earning a degree. One of the top esports players of 2023 with the gamertag of Faker was able to earn 1.4 million USD from tournaments.
Esports has been slowly establishing itself as a real sport and gaining traction every day. Brands are now looking towards these tournaments and matches as serious opportunities to reach an audience of millions. Not only that, but the Olympic Committee has also started an Esports Series as a way to allow players to showcase their talents and explore the stories of the top players in the world.
In the coming years, we should expect to hear more about the industry as well as collaborations taking place between traditional sports and esports as viewers are rising in the latter.
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