Imagine a small stadium filled with people looking at large screens strewn across the area. People from all around the world find their places as music and sound effects blast over a concert-level sound system. The lights go down, and the announcer comes out to start an all-day event. All of this only to focus on a couple of people with controllers in their hands or at a computer.
This is the reality of eSports today. It has become an online phenomenon, and it has achieved critical mass. There is a long line of people who hope to become professional gamers, and there are even more people who hope to watch the very best play their favorite competitive games.
Here is a brief overview of the subject:
Older Than You Think
While the size and scope of professional gaming have increased dramatically in recent years, there have always been hardcore players participating in tournaments if only for bragging rights and the ability to contend with the best.
As an example, one of the main games before the last five years was Starcraft (now replaced by Starcraft 2), which grabbed a huge international audience and still has dedicated players to this day despite the release of a sequel. Tournaments can last for days, and in some cities, you wouldn’t be surprised by the sight of rows of computers in large spaces playing the game. In Korea, the game became a phenomenon, and the gaming culture in general is huge. Any stigma against gamers has diminished dramatically over the decades.
This tradition of large room-sized events still continues today for the smaller tournaments. If you perform a few searches, you can still find the scene alive today. It’s where many players make their start and move up the ranks.
Prizes and Sponsorships
Large eSports events today aren’t just for glory. Prizes often go over seven digits, and the best players live off major tournament winnings for several years. This has resulted in more press coverage, considering how it usually is attracted to the large prize numbers.
Where does the money come from? In many cases, it is from the developer and publisher of the game being played. A tournament on a large scale attracts attention to the game in ways conventional advertising cannot (many gamers are extremely jaded about advertising).
Then, like most sports, there are sponsorship deals with the best teams and players. You’ll often find technology companies or graphics card manufacturers sponsoring a full team for major tournaments in exchange for their logos on team uniforms and other things of that nature.
Live Streaming and New Media
Better internet connections, video streaming and enhanced uploading capability have allowed gamers to make a potential living off of their passion in a method other than sponsorships and tournament prizes. People can stream their progress or practice online and have others watch. Others will often donate or subscribe to a channel to support the streamer enough to continue gaming on a regular basis.
Others will provide tips or walkthroughs online on platforms such as YouTube. PewDiePie is probably the most famous of these YouTube personalities, but there are others making video production related to gaming a full-time career. There is an entire microcosm of gaming on YouTube that just never seems to end.
We now even have professional gaming live-streamers who will spend six to eight hours a day live streaming their play, whether they’re an advanced gamer or someone focused more on their draw of personality to attract viewers. Whatever their appeal, the top streamers can bring thousands of live viewers on a platform like Twitch. However, because these streamers are minor celebrities, some feel the need to protect themselves and their personal information using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Cybersecurity website, Secure Thoughts, recommends the best VPN for Twitch in this helpful review.
Looking to the Future
As technology evolves, we can only expect to see increased investment in this part of the gaming environment. More people around the world are playing online games and have the internet connections to watch live and recorded events. Publicity is easier to come by, so interested gamers can catch streams that they wouldn’t otherwise know about. Some major tournaments may even get shown on TV networks as sources such as ESPN are planning on expanding their eSports coverage.
We might not even be too reliant on the standard setup in the future. We can’t rule out virtual reality or other emerging gaming technologies. They all could very well become game-changers in the market and would make eSports the sort of thing you’d only see in the movies.
Do you have any additional thoughts about how eSports is capturing the globe? Do you think this is a passing trend or will it be here to stay for generations to come? Do you have any other thoughts on the subject? If so, please leave a comment below and tell us what yo