What are eSports?

There is a new type of sport that has become extremely popular. Let’s have a look at what eSports are, and where it is heading.

Many people, young and old, enjoy getting competitive with their computer gaming.

Computer gamers in action
At big eSports tournaments, gamers compete against each other in front of big crowds of fans

But what exactly are they and why have eSports become such a big deal?

What are eSports?

“eSports” is simply the short name for electronic sports.

Just like football players play football together, eSports players play computer games against each other.

But it doesn’t just take place inside living rooms between friends and family. Huge eSports tournaments now take place all over the world in big arenas with large crowds.

Computer gamers
People can play together in teams, like football players play together on a team

For big tournaments with well-known players, fans from all over the world may tune in to watch the action online. Some competitors may even get paid for doing it.

They are also likely to play in teams, rather than on their own.

At an eSports competition, gamers will battle against each other on a particular game, with fans watching on screens.

eSports competition taking place
Competitions can take place in big arenas, with many fans watching on big screens. Just like they would at a football game

Where did eSports come from?

People playing computer games against each other is nothing new – gamers have been doing this for over 30 years.

Around the year 2000, computers became cheaper and the internet became faster. As a result, computer gaming became easily accessible to more people.

It also became easier to connect with gamers around the world. People could now play against each other – and watch others.

Players have become so skilled – and, in some cases, gained so many millions of fans – that computer gaming has become organised, competitive and professional.

As a result, it has been given its own name – “eSports”.

An eSports event
Globally eSports events attracts millions of fans every year.

Many disagree that computer gaming should be considered to be a sport.

Some people think that sport should involve being more physically active.

Many people now consider esports a skill based sport, even though it is not as physically athletic as tennis or football.

Why are eSports such a big deal?

eSports have become extremely popular over the past few years. Many companies all over the world are realising there is a lot of money that they can make from them.

According to Extra Crunch the global mobile gaming market was estimated at a staggering $68.2 billion for 2019. Investments into the gaming industry has grown and has seen a $9.6 billion by July 2019.

It should then be no surprise that the winners of eSports competitions can go home with thousands of dollars in prize money. It certainly is clear that serious cash is involved in this industry.

Fans at an eSports event
eSports have attracted millions of passionate fans all over the world

You only have to look at how many thousands of people go to the arenas to watch eSports competitions to see that they are as important to many people as any other sports match.

The biggest eSports event in 2019 was the League of Legends World Championships semi final, which attracted more than 3.9 million viewers!

Is it easy?

Playing computer games for your job might sound like a dream come true – and to many people it will be!

The best eSports players have to put in a lot of hard work and training. This might look easy, but it requires as much commitment and serious training as any physical sport.

Some players might train for up to 14 hours a day to make sure they have extremely quick reflexes and reactions. Players might make more than 300 “actions” per minute, so they have to be able to multi-task extremely well.

Professional gamers need to practice for hours. If there’s an update, they need to make sure they’ve mastered any changes, so that they can still be the best at it.

What does the future look like?

There is no doubt that eSports are on the rise. In the US alone, adults are spending more time on their smartphones than watching television.

“Traditional” sports clubs, like Premier League football teams, are starting to buy eSports players to represent them in competitions. The concept of attaching esports teams directly to traditional sports clubs has been growing more and more as of late with franchises like the NBA 2K League attaching teams to NBA teams, the 76ers buying Team Dignitas, and multiple traditional sports investments into the LCS.  

eSports team celebrating
eSports champions can win trophies and money for being the best

Exciting changes are still happening and as technology improves, eSports will keep on growing.

Could it be bigger than football one day? Only time will tell.

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 How to become a Pro Gamer  ◊

Adapted from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/37773832

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