First of all what is eSports? Esports is short for electronic sports – essentially video games – but played on desktop or laptop, not necessarily on a console, played professionally competing in events by some of the best video gamers in the world. Over the years this has grown from something you might've played in your living room, into an international event, sometimes played over the Playstation Network or the Xbox Live network. But how exactly did these computer games reach superstardom?
eSports’ beginnings can be dated back to 1972 at Stanford University. The students there played a game called Spacewar, and those who played well enough were invited to a tournament. The prestigious prize for this event was a year’s subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. As the desktop computer evolved, so did the games. In 1980 the first Atari tournaments began, and then in the 1990s is when things really got going. This was due to the fact that computers now had internet connectivity. It allowed a kid playing in his room in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to battle against someone in London, England with little to no issues. This opened up a whole new world for eSports and paved the path for modern day tournaments and competitions.
According to the video game streaming platform Twitch, more than 100 million viewers watch video game play each month. That is 66% more than the amount of people who watched the 2018 Super bowl! Over the last 14 years eSports tournaments have had an exponential growth that has not been seen in any other sport category. The fan base also continues to grow, as more and more kids have access to electronics and the internet. As interest grew, tournament players, especially famous Esports competitors are now getting paid in real money - and lots of it!
A very popular game called Dota 2 had its inaugural tournament in August of 2011. The prize was a 1 Million USD payout for the first prize winner. In the years since they have been able to give out over 10 million USD to the first-place winner. That is some serious cash for the team playing.
But why is this so popular? It is all part of the digital revolution. The older generations were unable to access this sort of event without any internet. Your grandparents and even your parents would not have ever dreamt of turning a computer game into a lucrative career. With Generation Z and the millennials leading the charge, eSports is gaining momentum. The benefit of this is that technology will always be changing and adapting. Games may become outdated, but they will always be there. They will become more interactive, require different skill sets, but the root of all games will still be able to be found within. That is accomplishing a task however you can. eSports is growing and is definitely here to stay.
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