What is Esports and why do people watch it?

Esports is an encompassing term that describes competitive video gaming but also now the industry that surrounds it and the skill-building path avid gamers follow as they aspire to become professional gamers.

Today hundreds of thousands of esports players compete in thousands of esports tournaments organized at arenas, stadiums, and dedicated new esports facilities around the globe. The most popular game titles played included League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and Fortnite.

What is Esports

© Dota 2 The International

The Fortnite World Championship Solo in 2019 saw the single winner take home $3 million in prize money. And, audience and brand sponsorship are now growing at such a pace that not only is esports beginning to be viewed as equal to any other popular sport, but esports events can be equally compared to sports events like the Superbowl.

Esports gameplay usually takes place on powerful PCs or consoles but mobile esports games are on the rise. The development of 5G networks globally will only increase the capability of mobile gaming and drive the popularity of mobile esports games and even mobile-based tournaments.

The emergence of esports

But what is esports’ history, where did the now phenomenon come from? The first esports tournament is credited with being the “Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics,” organised by the Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University in 1972. 24 players competed in the game “Spacewar,” designed in 1962, the winner took home a subscription to Rolling Stones magazine.

Over the decades gaming organisations and groups emerged and by the 1990s brands like Nintendo and Blockbuster Video were organization tournaments. By 2000 and beyond more and more competitive gaming tournaments emerged as networking and internet availability made collaborative and competitive play easier.

By 2010, esports was an important part of the video game industry and the total prize money won by esports players was $5.2 million, by 2016 this figure was $93.3 million. In 2019 over $211 million was awarded in prize money. Esports net worth as an industry also surpassed $1 billion and is expected to be worth three times as much by 2025.

What does esports stand for?

Esports, the term coined from “electronic sports,” was reportedly first used in 1999 press release, according to the Online Gamers Association (OGA). It was first incorporated into a major dictionary, Dictionary.com, in 2015. This, as per Digitalist Magazine which also details the variation in terminology and spelling between esports, e-sport, e-sports, and the term cybersport which it visualizes as used more commonly in Russia.

So, what does esports stand for? Esports is a whole new generation of sport involving Millennials and Generation Z in competitive teamplay.

esports team LoL

© LoL Esports

What is an esports team?

Competitions in esports are either team or solo events, or a combination of the two. Fortnite, for example, has Solo, Duo, and four-player Squad events. League of Legends, in contrast, predominantly features team tournaments. Esports teams vary in size and specialty, some focus on just one game whereas larger teams field players in different game titles. Cloud9 is one of the most valuable esports teams and is worth an estimated $400 million.

Why do people watch Esports?

Watching electronic sports gameplay is incredibly popular with younger viewers, gamers, and aspiring professional gamers. The popularity of playing video games and watching esports has accelerated the industry’s growth in recent years. It’s also gaining popularity with wider audience demographics. And, traditional sports teams are getting involved with esports in a big way. NHL teams are hosting NHL tournaments, for example. And conventional sports teams are fielding their own esports teams, like Italy’s Juventus football club.

What is esports? Esports is a phenomenon of the digital age. It is to Millennials and Generation Z what football, basketball, baseball, and hockey have been for decades to other generations. It’s an opportunity for fans, players, and commercial participants and it’s now a tenable career aspiration for many youngsters.

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