Esports – what is it?

Jul 09 2019 5 min read

Esports – what is it? ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!

Esports is a rapidly growing industry that has recently started being recognized on the official governmental level. We are still far from having esports at the Olympics, but it’s definitely a matter of when – not if. So what is esports basically? Much like the general sports, it creates the foundation for professional competitions in various disciplines with the only exception that these disciplines are actually video games.

Esports history

While you might think that esports as an industry is fairly young, it is not something brand new and originates along with the gaming industry. Esports goes back to the second half of the XX century when video games started paving their way towards global popularity. Well before huge esports arenas with official sponsors and world-famous teams became a thing, players were competing locally in arcades trying to beat each other’s records in popular video games of the 70s and 80s.

Titles like Pac-Man were in the spotlight, and the natural desire of humans to compete has actually predetermined the creation of professional esports. Obviously, competitions were more of a local thing up until the 90s when the Internet connected the world and sophisticated 3D games were created. The foundation of modern esports was laid by such cult-classics as Quake, WarCraft, and Counter-Strike – these games were competitive at their cores thus allowing players to find out who was the best and fulfilling their desire to compete.

In the 2000s, the gaming industry drastically changed and evolved thanks to new powerful technologies. Esports progressed respectively with games becoming more complex and rewarding in terms of gameplay. The first decade of the XXI century was marked with the creation of esports leagues and organizations, with sponsors and huge companies recognizing the potential behind esports, and with the overall popularity of the industry growing significantly.

Esports finally became a global industry and various tournaments started being shown on TV and the Internet. It became clear that the world would never be the same again.

Modern esports disciplines

Nowadays, there’s a huge variety of video games that are being played on a professional competitive level. They are considered the modern esports disciplines, and you’ve definitely heard of them. The biggest names are Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft 2, etc. They usually attract millions of viewers from across the world and the competitions are being held at huge arenas with cheering audiences. Millions of dollars in prize pools, wide coverage in mass media, intrigues and dramas – it’s clearly just like regular sports, but with a video game twist.

But unlike regular sports, esports can be enriched with new disciplines at any time. For instance, 2019 has brought a great new Battle Royale title – Apex Legends, which was quickly granted the status of an esports title given its competitive essence. Moreover, there’re no strict limits preventing the games from becoming esports titles. Autobattler craze turned into the announcements of official tournaments for Dota Underlords, Teamfight Tactics, and Auto Chess. Even Farming Simulator hosted its own professional league with prominent players and huge prize pools.

Esports leagues

Game developers and publishers are interested in turning their popular projects into professional esports titles, which results in pushing and sponsoring official tournaments and leagues. Once they grow enough to become reasonably appealing events, third-party leagues usually start to emerge – national ones, amateur, professional leagues by esports organizations, closed leagues, you name it. There’re countless opportunities for players and teams to prove their skill and demonstrate exciting performances.

Watching esports

Esports has become a legit industry with world-famous companies investing in it. Car manufacturers, sportswear companies, entertainment corporations tend to sign promotional deals with popular teams and players, and it’s pretty obvious that such huge interest must be based on the popularity of esports in the first place. Tournaments and championships are being watched all over the world by millions of people, and there’re devoted fans who intentionally go for offline events to watch their idols performing IRL – much like their ‘regular sports’ counterparts, although video games fans do not usually cause street riots when their teams fail.

If you are interested in watching these events live, you might find yourself in a tricky situation. Not because it’s an impossible mission but rather because huge offline tournaments and grand finals are so popular that it’s fairly easy to miss the opportunity to purchase a ticket. There’s a whole shade industry of reselling insanely overpriced tickets on the black market – and there’s a strong demand for it. Watching online is another way to treat yourself with some top-notch esports action – and you won’t find any difficulties doing so. Official organizers always livestream their huge competitive events on Twitch and YouTube, and there’s plenty of video studios that re-stream esports events and deliver them with professional commentaries.

Playing esports

Much like regular sports, esports requires a lot of talent and skill. The peak form of esportsmen is pretty close to the one fair for regular athletes – the biggest esports stars are aged somewhere between 20 and 30. At that age, the reaction time, decision-making, and the ability to learn are at their highest. After players hit their 30s, they usually turn to other high-valued professions in the industry like managers and coaches. Still, esports is great in regards to the possibility to build an athlete out of yourself being an amateur – whereas regular sports usually require decades of training before you can achieve something. In esports, there’s also almost zero possibility to have a professional trauma, which is a priceless advantage over regular sports.

Is it real to build an esports career from scratch? Nothing is impossible! While old and settled disciplines like Counter-Strike and StarCraft might be pretty hard to ‘penetrate’ with young talents, the ongoing growth of esports as an industry and the addition of new titles to the existing disciplines can greatly ease the objective of building an esports career. You can find yourself gifted and skilled enough to compete in a freshly released game with an esports potential, and then you just have to cultivate your talent and purposefully pave the way towards professional gaming.

If you are dreaming of becoming a professional esports athlete, we might actually have a working solution for you. Our friendly WePlay! Tournament Platform provides amateur players with means for advancing towards proper competitive gaming, and we highly recommend you to give our service a look.

Esports earnings

When we said that prize pools in esports are huge – we actually meant it. Long story short, 2019 so far has accumulated $60,601,447.05 worth of prizes that were won by players and teams from across the world in major esports disciplines. The overall amount of money put into prize pools throughout 2019 can well reach and exceed $150 million by the end of the year. We’ve covered this topic in our dedicated article, and it is definitely worth reading.


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