Back when you were a child and playing PlayStation, Xbox, or PC games, your parents might have told you that playing games would not get you anywhere in life; boy were they wrong, thankfully. Times have changed, and people across the globe are making a living out of eSports. What’s more, eSports is so big that you will find famous gaming venues all over, and these events and venues draw massive crowds. And while this is happening in 2021, people are still confused about what eSports are, how one gets involved, and how one makes a living out of it.
What is eSports?
It is a form of competition using video games in an organized setting. You can either play individually or in teams, and the competition usually involves competing for money. There are numerous famous eSports players and games. Now eSports is not taken seriously in most settings across the world, but some countries do applaud and celebrate their players, for example, the US, Korea, and Russia.
There are three games that are just in a league of their own and draw in massive crowds, massive sponsorship, and massive gaming hours.
- Defense of the Ancients 2: This multiplayer online battle arena game was developed and published by Valve. The premise? The game is played in matches of two teams consisting of five players each, with each team having to defend their base on the map. Each of the 10 players has a unique character with special abilities which differ in style of play. Throughout the gameplay, each player collects experience points while defeating the rival team. A team will only win once they destroy the opposing team’s ancient, which is located in each team’s base. The best Dota 2 player currently is Johan Sundstein, or N0tail as he is commonly known. He hails from Denmark.
- League of Legends: Developed by Riot Games in 2009, League of Legends, commonly known as League, is an online multiplayer battle area game – they sure are popular. The premise is pretty much the same as Dota 2, as two teams of five players each collect experience points, battle it out, defend their base, and a team only wins once they destroy the opposing team’s nexus located at their base. This game is extremely popular and even has a League of Legends World Championship every year with an extremely large prize pool. Fans from across the world pull up en masse for this annual event.
- Counterstrike: Global Offensive: Currently the most popular game on the planet, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or CS: GO, was developed over two years and released in 2012. This multiplayer first-person shooter pits two teams against each other, one terrorist and the other counter-terrorists. This game has an active eSports scene, and there are many tournaments held annually where massive amounts of cash are up for grabs. This game is extremely competitive.
Top eSports players
Just like popular games, there are popular players, and some of them include:
- Faker: 25-year-old Lee Sang-hyeok, who hails from Korea, is a professional League of Legends player for the team T1. He is estimated to be worth $4 million.
- Puppey: Born Clement Ivanov, this 31-year-old Estonian is a Dota 2 player who won the International 2011 for a $1 million cash prize, sweet!
- Jang Jae-ho: This South Korean gamer is considered the best Night Elf player in the world and is known for playing real-time strategy games Warcraft III and StarCraft II.
What’s next for eSports and what can we expect by 2025?
According to Juniper Research’s latest market forecast, at least 10 percent of the world’s population will be watching eSports by 2025 – this is estimated to be 1 billion people. This is largely driven by the Asian-Pacific communities, but it is predicted that Latin America will pull in larger crowds as the years go by and internet connectivity issues are solved. While there are many professional eSports players from across the globe, the followers and fan-base are much larger.
Another factor we can look at is profits. Big money is already being spent, and it’s predicted the industry will be worth $2.1 billion this year alone. This figure is set to rise to $3.5 billion by 2025. This growth rate is primarily driven by subscriptions on streaming services, advertising on streaming platforms, and video game items. And while the market is mostly driven by the Asian-Pacific communities, this could change if connectivity issues are ironed out in the rest of the world. Fortunately, eSports is completely online’ however, connectivity issues still put a damper on the entire experience. And while eSports is set to officially enter the Olympics in 2028, let’s look at the latest developments in eSport and the Olympics.
ESports and the Olympics
Before the 2020 Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee announced that it was organizing five eSports events ahead of the summer Olympic games. While this was groundbreaking a few months ago, things did not go according to plan. Games took place entirely online, so players were not competing at actual Olympic stadiums, and the events took place before the actual Olympics. While this is a step in the right direction, the International Olympic Committee has been in talks since 2017 to introduce eSports into the Olympics, but the delivery proved challenging. And while mobilizing eSports at the 2020 Olympics, albeit virtually, it is a step in the right direction on making this industry more inclusive and gives hope to future gamers and fans alike.
The virtual eSports competitions were divided into the following disciplines at the Olympics:
- Sailing: Virtual Regatta
- Cycling: Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI)
- Rowing: Open Format
- Motorsport: FIA/Grand Tourism
- Baseball: World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) – eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020