Electronic sports (or E-sports in short) is the next big thing, with an audience of 395 million online and television viewers. This audience number is expected to rise to 600 million by 2022. Industry research group Newzoo estimates esports revenues will top $1 billion for the first time this year, climbing 27% from last year’s figure. Videogames have always appealed to kids and adults alike. The competitiveness, strategy and the idea of immersing yourself in a world that is nothing like the real world has always had its appeal. The scope of competitive video games is so big that companies like Ford have joined in with various projects that are proving to be massive successes. E-sports is another major gaming industry that is experiencing a great boom, along with casino games, and fantasy sports. In countries like the US, UK, online casinos have experienced massive popularity and profits. What could be the reason behind popular online games that are competitive?
What are E-Sports?
Imagine you could play videogames all day, but for money and prizes. Does this seem too good to be true? Well, this is exactly what E-sports is, competitive video games. Competitive gaming has always been a part of video game culture. In fact, the first video game competition took place at Stanford in the 1970s, with a game called Spacewar. Slowly, more and more competitions were organized, with proper tournaments along with live streaming to an audience became popular in the 2010s. Nowadays, competitive video gaming is a major industry, with video game developers developing games specifically for this, finding tournaments and various other events. The most popular games are multiple online battle arena games, first-person online shooter games, card games, battle royale games, and real-time strategies. League of Legends Worldwide and Evolution Champion series are some examples of massive E-Sport Tournaments.
Where is it compared to Global Sports?
Though the legitimacy of E-sports as a true sporting competition has been debated, it has been considered on two platforms, popularity, and profit. E-sports has been included beside some major sporting tournaments in Asia. The International Olympic Committee has even discussed its future inclusion in Olympics. This shows us how important and relevant E-sports is slowly becoming, not just in terms of profit, but also in terms of reputation and respect. By the late 2010s, it was projected that the audience of esports would grow to 454 million viewers, with revenue increasing to over US$1 billion.
Why is it so Popular?
Well, first of all, E-sports is just like any other sport. Humans have an inherent desire to perform better than their peers, which E-sports allows them to do. The competitiveness is further enhanced by audiences, who too get drawn in, invested, and pick favorites, side and people to cheer on. Just like any other sport, rivalries exist, narratives exist, underdogs versus masters exist, and the idea of triumphing against all odds, despite several setbacks. There are so many similarities between E-sports and actual sports that it isn’t much of a surprise that E-sports is taking off.
The other factor that makes E-sports so popular is accessibility and inclusivity. Video games can be played at any time of the day, from the comfort of your own home. Other sports require strict routines, training regimes, huge amounts of time, investment and resources for you to actually become successful. The chances of you excelling in a simple game of Fortnite is way higher than you excelling in a complex sport like tennis! Actual sports require physical capability. Can you even become an NBA player if you aren’t over 6 feet tall? You need a perfect physical form, agile reflexes, intense strength, and stamina to become a top player in any actual sport. All E-sports require is a knack for gaming, strategy, and practice.
The massive variety of videogames available also appeals to many. You have something for everyone. Strategy games for the smart ones, shooter games for those who like them, and battle royales for those who like to take their competitiveness up a notch. Nowadays, video games are beautifully designed. There are meticulously created storylines, immersive worlds, and eye-catching graphics. The gameplays are also ridiculously updated and advanced. All of this creates a wonderful experience for a gamer.
Moreover, video games are insanely addictive. There is a certain appeal to losing yourself in a world of fantasy, far removed from reality, just for a moment, to feel at peace.