Ever since I was young I wanted to make a living out of playing computer games. Not testing them, not reviewing them, just playing games over and over again until my eyes bled. Sound familiar? Well, now, thanks to eSports, I can!
eSports is essentially professional gaming. Where the best players in the world compete against each other in a series of leagues and tournaments for cash prizes and reputation. eSports has been around for quite some time, but only recently has it taken off in Europe and the US. The majority of console gamers seem unaware to this gaming phenomenon which is sweeping the nation, so allow me to provide you with the briefest of histories.
A handful of years ago, eSports were fairly low-key and only a few select games had any sort of following. Games were played out on PCs, usually in a dimly lit basement. The original Starcraft had the largest support, but the majority of players were Korean making the games fairly inaccessible for any upcoming gamers. In fact, even to this day, any Starcraft players not from Korea are known as “foreigners”.
In 2010, Starcraft 2 was released, and with it thousands of nerds came out of their bedrooms and onto the stage for fame and fortune. The Korean presence was still heavy, but for the first time foreigners were able to hold their own and this caught peoples attention. eSports exploded, and these days it is similar to watching American sport on TV. Streamed over the internet, the most popular tournaments feature the best players, a live crowd, commentators and post-match analysis. Sounds cool, right? The gravity of eSports didn’t hit me until I witnessed a 16 year old gamer, called Leenock, being handed a cheque for $50,000 for placing 1st in a tournament!
Once the success of Starcraft 2 was witnessed, other games started following suit. Games like Call of Duty, Halo, Street Fighter 4, Mortal Kombat, Tekken and League of Legends. And the eSports scene continues to grows every day, with over 100,000 viewers tuning into championship games it seems as though this is the future of entertainment. The majority of the attention is drawn to PC games, but console gamers are starting to get their say with more and more games being introduced.
Sound like something you would be interested in? Of course it does, it’s awesome. I would recommend you head over to MLG and check out a few of their upcoming tournaments. If you’re still unsure, check out some VODs on Great Frag which shows a wide range of games. If eSports is going to become a household event, it’s down to you to support it!