Esports for Everyone: Simple guide on to understand and watch esports

With esports being as popular as they are these days, it can be quite daunting for would-be esports fans to pick up the hobby. There’s so much to know and so many options to choose from, that it can be confusing – but we’re here to help!

Here are some helpful tips and starting points for new and would-be fans. After all, esports is for everyone!

esports for everyone

What is Esports and How to Get Started

First, the terminology. Competitive video gaming and esports are essentially the same thing. It means playing Video Games in a competitive format with clearly set rules and a way to determine the winner. Esports is just short form way to say electronic sports.

Gaming as an industry encompasses both Esports, eGaming, iGaming. All three are tied into competitive video gaming and the industries surrounding it. Some of the big games and abbreviations to know would be: CS:GO (Counter Strike Global Offensive), LoL (League of Legends), Dota 2 (Defence of the Ancients), OWL (Overwatch League) and CoD (Call of Duty).

Since there are so many popular esports out there now, it may take a few tries to find the right fit – ask your friends for recommendations if you’re not sure to ask, or some terminology confuses you.

Short history of Esports (Esports for Dummies)

From a niche hobby to a worldwide phenomenon nearly as popular as traditional sports. Esports aren’t slowing down and what were originally small LAN tournaments in basements, all the way back in the 1970s are now massive events filling out stadiums.

Due to the popularity of gaming and the emergence of online multiplayer games, esports quickly evolved to bigger LAN events, and ultimately, the first properly hosted tournaments appeared. What started out with joke prizes like magazine subscriptions and in-game currency morphed to multi-million-dollar events in just a few years. Now, esports news are as common as news about a football player transferring teams or an accident in an F1 race. Esports is now just sports played on a device. Its a huge industry and esports is becoming mainstream.

Here’s a short 5-minute video by Sean “Day9tv” Plott explaining esports in a simple way.

Getting started with esports

If you’ve not yet watched any matches and you don’t know where to begin, a good choice is to look at your favorite game and see if there is an esport for it. Granted if you are a hardcore Candy Crush Sage player, there might be difficulty finding an esports scene for it, but in general plenty of titles are now holding their own competitive scenes. You can also look at as a platform and identify an esport or esports streamers that can entice you into attaching yourself to a certain game. Often, pro players stream on the side or once they retire from pro play. They’ll give you a good idea of what the game is all about, and what a high-profile match looks like, no matter the title.

Then, when you feel ready, find a match with some casters who provide commentary. They’ll point out important moments, player stats, and anything you need to know to really dig into what’s happening. Pick a team you like the look of and root for them – even if you later discover you like another team better, it gives you an ‘in’ as well.

You can also start out with some previous matches, if you want to pause and rewatch certain plays, either for your own skills, or just to pick up a few terms for your (by now) growing wiki.

Don’t be disheartened if a game that initially interests you turns out to be boring – there are many genres, and there are esports for everyone – if shooters don’t interest you, try a racing game, or a strategy game, or, or, or – there are as many choices as there are tastes!

Finding your place in esports

When trying to pick the esport or game you’re most interested in, make your selection based on what format interests you most. Games like Overwatch have a localized league with location-bound teams much like US baseball teams. If you like rooting for your local team in traditional sports, look into games like Overwatch and Call of Duty who have a league based system based on location.

CS:GO on the other hand has independent teams with multi-national rosters and frequent regional and international competitions rather than a fixed league.

The format of the game itself is also relevant – CS:GO and Overwatch are short and round-based, and don’t rely on too many abbreviations. That makes them easy to follow for non-gamers or those not familiar with the more attention-demanding games like League or even StarCraft. League of Legends, in particular, is THE most popular esport on the planet, so if you are looking to chat to your friends about esports, it is a solid choice, but it’s not as easy to pick up as some others.