eSPORTS is far from the next big thing as it has already arrived, and been on the block long enough to make one of the greatest socio-economic impacts in the last 12 months. eSPORTS to this point has achieved a level of growth that those on the outside of the industry struggle to wrap their minds around, and experts will claim that that this obscurity will only become greater as gamers and participants continue to grow in number.
It will be nearly impossible to gauge where eSPORTS is heading, without first identifying the origins of this remarkably dynamic platform, which is much easier asked than explained. eSPORTS named aptly named for it’s ability to embrace the competitive nature of electronic gaming, uses the idea of sports and competition as a framework, but gains the core of its inspiration from many different facets of life. The history of video gaming goes back several decades, and has evolved over the years. Whether it’s Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, Halo, or Call of Duty the inspiration derived from the evolution of electronic gaming is unparalleled.
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Take that minute sliver and mix in all the athletic based games from Blades of Steel, to NBA Jams, to anything by EA Sports, including both the FIFA and Madden franchises and you’ll have an accumulation of gaming evolution that screams competition, and ultimate compensation for success in said completion, but more on that below. eSports is not just pulling from sports based video games, but also rides the wave of real life sports as well. After all this is a platform for those who want to play sports that require a ball or excessive physical movement including but not limited to actual physical contact with your competitor. This would never happen in eSPORTS, but that doesn’t mean gamers don’t’ have a competitive nature, don’t like to win, or hate to lose, and don’t have to work tirelessly on their craft.
eSPORTS represents predominantly a multiplayer event featuring competitors who are deemed professionals in the gaming world. Competitors will converge on a pre-determined venue and compete against each other in immense strategy, fighting or first person shoot games. Gamers who generally compete by the hundreds face each other until the winner is crowned.
Don’t get it wrong here folks, video game competitions have existed since the 90s, which you could credit for being part of the inspiration for what eSPORTS is today, but with eSPORTS, gamers have something to call their own. Gamers are no longer these anti-social drains on society that stay in their basement away from sunlight for days at a time that they were once pigeon holed to be. Now gamers are part of a respectable industry, that hosts international events from people from all of the world, These events are funded, spectators can eat, everyone can drink, and many of the biggest gamers are sponsored.
eSPORTS goes back almost a decade and half, and really took off in countries such as Germany, South Korea, China and Canada. Gamers were deemed as official “athletes” and allowed to move to or live in other countries on VISAs with “athlete” designation. Think about that for moment. The government, though enough about the industry 15 years, that considered gaming as a worthwhile enough platform to gain legal residency in the U.S. It makes you wonder why so many people try to come into America illegally when all they have to do is learn how to play Assasin’s Creed better.
It should also be noted that there are several major first world technologically advanced countries that are far from immersing themselves in the eSPORTS culture, as gaming and gambling laws in place prohibit such activities and events. This hasn’t stopped the industry from growing to become a $621M industry worldwide. With approximately 72M people just watching the competitive gaming events the industry continues to sustain itself with it current viewership and lucrative endorsement deals that are usually kept out of the public eye.
Let’s make no mistake it hasn’t always been this easy to follow along with eSPORTS events, but the interactive nature of the industry now makes this extremely seamless with streaming media and other web-based capabilities. The latest polls show a 3% increase of female gamers up from 15%, which is expected to continue to grow, as the industry becomes more and more lucrative. The target demographic relative to age continues be 18-34, but the increase in female gamers has resulted in the shift of concentration in advertising and marketing efforts.
ESPN the self-proclaimed world wide leader in sports has staked their claim to the piece of the pie in recognition of the industries breeding ground for competition, ownership engagement and mass following. The Network, over the last few years has already aired several events and the Network’s creative team has partnered with Major League Gaming (MLG) to pull together efforts in collaboration with both Call of Duty and the X-games.
Although you can trace the first gaming completion back to 1972 online gaming didn’t start until the 90s. The rise of global tournaments in the 21st century is really what has kicked this industry off as a whole. eSPORTS events were aired for the first time in the U.S. in 2007 and though other Countries have been slow to air the United States have had considerably more success delivering the product to its demographic.
eSPORTs has come a long way, and nothing is going to stop this momentum. All that you can do at this point is stop get your self in the middle it all whether you gaming or spectating. Have Fun!!