Game day: fans flood arenas wearing team jerseys, searching for events to meet their dream players and gain an autograph. Those who don’t make it to the event itself sit impatiently by their laptops and T.V.s waiting for their streaming service to begin airing. All wait to watch those who’ve spent hours honing their skills. But these ‘athletes’ aren’t who you think they are. They aren’t big football or basketball players — they’re gamers.
Competitive video game playing, known as eSports, is on the rise. If you play video games — especially Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA) — you are sure to know about eSports and how they work. However if you haven’t, here is some information on the sport that’s grabbing attention from gamers.
Any game can be made into an eSport when there’s a clear winner, but the game type that is most popular is MOBA. In MOBAs, players form teams and compete tournament-style in arenas and large game maps. Examples of such games are League of Legends (LoL), Dota 2 and Overwatch.
Each game has its own fan base and has companies like NHL who hold tournaments that gain more popularity over time. A lot of supporters of ‘real’ sports are supporters of eSports as well, like ESPN, which doesn’t only stream football, but also LoL and Dota 2. Most of these competitive games are also aired on streaming platforms such as Youtube and Twitch. Now, a big question to a new person may be, “what do these gamers gain by professionally competing?” The answer to that is simple. Most players come in to gain the cash prizes and glory like ordinary athletes would.
International competitions have especially big cash prizes that amount to millions of dollars and sponsorships to team involved. Many leagues now offer salaries along with that. Though this may seem like an easy job to handle, most players in eSports leagues don’t last long, and many of these players get looked down upon by those who don’t play video games. Not only that, but to get into these leagues a player must have a high rank or status in their game and must possess certain skills that most other gamers don’t have. They also need strategic minds and reflexes fast enough to outplay an enemy in the heat of the moment while millions of fans watch them.
eEports is steadily growing along with the amount of fans that keep up with it. If it continues at this rate, then people will learn more about competitive video games, and eSports could become closer to gaining mainstream acceptance.