The term “eSports” means exactly what you think it does: electronic sport. The term itself is becoming more popular across the board, including among those who don’t necessarily follow technology and gaming news regularly. This is because eSports recently crossed over and became more mainstream as a legitimate spectator sport.
Despite the growing popularity, many still don’t understand eSports and what it really stands for. More importantly, a lot of people don’t understand why eSports is so popular all of a sudden. If you are among those people, the details we are about to discuss in this article will eliminate any confusion about eSports and what it is all about.
What is eSports?
Video game competitions are nothing new. According to historians and gaming enthusiasts, gaming competitions were already around in the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that eSports really turned into a serious, competitive thing. There is a very good milestone we can pinpoint too.
It was Microsoft and its Xbox that first brought competitive gaming to mainstream view. Xbox’s Halo 2 was the first to introduce a playable (and exciting) online mode to the world. Competitions and rivalries started appearing almost immediately.
We had the first televised Major League Gaming in 2004. Halo 2 was still the game that captured everyone’s attention back then. eSports just took off from that moment, with thousands – if not millions – of aspiring athletes joining the excitement.
Access to Competitive Gaming
The popularity of eSports is the result of various factors and moments, but there is one element that we cannot separate from eSports as a whole: access. While not everyone can be a professional athlete, everyone has the same opportunity to compete in electronic sports.
That level of access was very similar to what the Olympics used to provide. If you read about the Olympics during its early days, you will see a lot of amateur players competing for a prestigious world title. eSports is no different.
Even today, access is still a big part of competitive gaming. We have young and old, amateur and professional players competing on a level playing field. Anyone can come out on top and become a champion in an eSport competition.
In the old days, only the biggest eSports competitions were televised globally. That’s certainly not the case today, especially with platforms like Twitch and YouTube making streaming games easy. YouTube even has its own Gaming section for gamers who want to stream their gameplays and connect with a wider audience. Competitions use these platforms to build a large audience base and attract sponsors.
Yes, they do have sponsors. eSports teams and professional athletes are, well, professionals. They receive salaries and portions from winnings or prizes. They work with sponsors and endorse a wide range of products – from gaming gears to energy drinks. They even earn millions in salary and other rewards from the games they love so much.
eSports is turning into a big industry. It is no different than athletic sports games and the professionals behind them. This is exactly why access to eSports became its unique appeal; anyone can pursue a victory in a major competition and go pro. You just have to have the skills and experience to win in eSports games.
Popular eSports Games
Speaking of eSports games, we’ve come a long way from playing Halo 2 as the primary game in eSports. Today, there are hundreds of genres, categories, and titles to choose from. The three main genres that are very popular in eSports are First-Person Shooter (FPS), Real-Time Strategy (RTS), and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA).
FPS games are quite common. If you are familiar with the likes of Call of Duty, you will love this genre. Today, games like The Division 2 and Overwatch follow the same recipe of fast-paced first-person action and plenty of challenges to overcome.
RTS games are trickier, because they involve strategizing for more battles late in the game and anticipating other players’ moves. StarCraft II is still the most popular game of the genre right now, but titles like Warcraft II and StarCraft: Brood War have their fans too.
As for MOBA, there are a lot of games to choose from. Fortnite and P.U.B.G. are the games to try if you love shooting games. We have Mobile Arena, League of Legends, and even mobile games like Mobile Legends turning into attention-grabbing competition games.
These three genres may be the most popular ones on the market, but they are certainly not the only ones. We also have tournaments and competitions for fighting games. Street Fighter and even Super Smash Bros. are regularly played in international tournaments.
Sports games are also incredibly popular. There are electronic leagues running alongside their real-life counterparts, with professional eSports athletes showing their best abilities in playing titles like Madden and FIFA series. We even have Rocket League competitions running on Twitch.tv.
Racing is in a genre of its own due to the growing number of competitions. The biggest one is the F1 eSports branch, which plays F1 2018 (and soon 2019) alongside the actual Formula 1 season. Athletes join real teams backed by real Formula 1 teams. It is the pinnacle of eSports.
Other games are also just as fascinating to follow as eSports games. Do you know that there is a Classic Tetris World Championship? Or Pokémon Play! World Championship? These may seem like simple games to play, but they are exciting games when played competitively.
The Future of eSports
One thing is true about eSports: it is not slowing down. The entire landscape is very similar to that of professional sports. We even have this website offering opportunities to place wagers on eSports events and your favorite gamers (athletes) in the events.
More games have competition modes to guarantee fairness and to allow players to show their skills. Brands and the industry as a whole are supporting players too, adding more opportunities for new players to go pro.
eSports is here to stay; there is no doubt about that. Try watching the live streams and engage in eSports gaming to get a taste of this booming world.