Most avid players of computer games are very familiar with e-sports. The term, which is a shortened form of electronic sports, means that computer game players play against one another, either one-on-one or as team versus team.
Computer games have been around since the 1950s, but they became very popular around the 1970s or the 1980s when arcade games, joysticks and game consoles were introduced. In 2000, computer prices went lower and Internet connection became faster. More people were able to afford computers and Internet subscriptions, allowing them to enjoy computer games. The development and enhancements of computer games became non-stop since then. From box-like figures of the old computer games to the sophistication of modern video games, the development of electronic games was short of incredible.
A look at the beginning of e-sports
It was in 2018 that e-sports started to rise up the ladder of fame, cementing a position in the computer gaming industry, with the potential to earn billions of dollars.
However, in its early stages, many people thought that computer gaming should not be considered as a sport because the players are not active physically. However, others believe that even if the players are not as athletic as football or tennis players, the skills required to play video games are enough for the activity to be called a sport.
Rise of e-sports
Today, from being a form of entertainment at home or while on the road, video game competitions became big business, turning it into e-sports tournaments that attract teams of dedicated players, big-time sponsors, large crowds and huge prize money. E-sports tournaments are held in big arenas around the world.
E-sports tournaments attract well-known pro gamers, while avid fans worldwide travel to distant places to be where the action is. Many more people watch the game online. The arena setup has an elevated stage where monitors are placed so that fans watching the competition live can see the ”battle” on huge screens in full and vivid colors.
In an e-sports tournament, teams play against each other, playing a specific game such as Dota 2 or League of Legends. Several other game forms are played in the big league.
The players in e-sports competitions are highly skilled. Many of them have millions of followers worldwide. Today, computer gaming is big business. It has become professional, competitive and organized.
Why e-sports became a worldwide phenomena
Economics is one of the major reasons that contribute to the rise of e-sports as a big industry sector. With the continuing popularity of e-sports, many establishments and organizations saw the potential to earn big money from it.
Computer game developers and sellers realize that they can earn a lot of money when their games become very popular. Gamers around the world spend billions of dollars purchasing computer games.
Winners in e-sports competitions take home large sums of money as their prize. Just to give you an example, here are some of the international competitions with the highest prize money through the years.
- The International 2018‘s total prize money was $25,532,177. The game played was Dota 2, which attracted 18 teams, comprising 90 players.
- The total prize money for the International 2017 was $24,687,919. Again the game played was Dota 2, with 18 teams and 90 players.
- Sixteen teams with a total of 80 players competed against each other on the game Dota 2 during the International 2016, where the total prize money reached $20,770,460.
- The International 2015 gave out a total of $18,429,613 in prize money. The pro-gamers played Dota 2 and the tournament attracted 16 teams with 80 players.
- Again, Dota 2 was played at the International 2014, where 14 teams with 70 players tried to have a share in the $10,931,103 prize money.
- In 2018, the World Championship of the League of Legends (LoL) had 24 teams and 130 players. The total prize money for that year was $6,450,000
- The Lol World Championship in 2016 gave out $5,070,000. It had 16 teams and 86 players
- The 2017 LoL World Championship has 24 teams and 128 players. The total prize money in 2017 was $4,946,969.
Another indication that e-sports are important to their followers is the number of people who watch the staging of the international competition.
For example, 60 million people watched the finals of the League of Legends World Championships in 2017, while teams vied for the championship prize worth $1 million.
But competing in the e-sports tournament is not a walk in the park. Most pro-gamers treat computer gaming as their job. They spend time to hone their skills, spending most of their time training. Many of them spend about 14 hours each day in training. They have to ensure that their reactions and reflexes are exceedingly quick.
Did you know that a player could make over 300 movements or actions each minute?
A pro-gamer cannot afford to be lax. Games often have updates, which means that the gamer must ensure that he can quickly master whatever changes were made on the game.
The projection is that in 2019, the market for e-sports will surpass $1 billion and by 2021, it will be more than $1.6 billion. The commercial success of the competition is due to the number of investors and companies that are riding on the popularity of e-sports.
E-sports teams are like startup businesses. They also look for funding and several investors are keenly interested in providing funds to popular teams. For example, the e-sports team Cloud9, which is considered the most valuable team in the world, was able to raise $50 million in Series B funding in October 2018, raising the team’s value to $310 million. Nine e-sports teams around the world are valued at around $100 million.
Did you know that celebrities are also attracted to e-sports teams?
Michael Jordan is a part owner of Team Liquid since the last quarter of 2018. Well-known investors and sports team owners like Mark Cuban and Robert Kraft have also invested in e-sports teams.
Newzoo, a research firm, projected that around 60% of the revenue of the e-sports market will come from advertising and sponsorships.
The worldwide success and popularity of e-sports attracted the attention of various advertisers. Traditionally, only tech and game-related products and companies are sponsoring and advertising during the competitions. But in 2018, the tradition was broken with the entry of non-gaming sponsors. Advertising and sponsorship support now come from telecoms, car manufacturers and other companies. They provide sponsorships for teams, leagues and events.
With the number of e-sports events held each year, culminating in the championships at the end of the year, more and more companies are expected to provide sponsorship deals and sign long-term advertising packages.
Companies and advertisers are always looking for non-traditional ways to reach wider audiences around the world. E-sports are a perfect venue for them, as the audience demographics are varied. The games attract people of different cultures and ethnicity, age groups and socio-economic status.
Conversely, the popularity of e-sports opens opportunities for other leagues, which is expanding the market, providing more opportunities for all stakeholders.
The growth of the e-sports market each year is substantial and insiders predict that it will help make the sector sustainable. It will help create more revenue generating streams for the organizers and the players, along with the additional benefits that sponsors, investors and owners stand to gain overtime.
It will also inspire tournament hosts to mount events that are more challenging, entertaining and beneficial for the teams and their players, for the worldwide audience and the numerous investors and sponsors.
It is predicted that e-sports will only grow bigger as each year passes. Right now, the championship events rival the championships of traditional sports such as football and basketball.
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