The South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Park Jie-won, coined the phrase eSports, or electronic sports, at the establishing ceremony for the Korean eSports Association, Kespa. South Korea is commonly held to be the cradle of competitive gaming because of its government initiatives that promoted gaming culture in the early noughties and its high-speed broadband connection. Gaming cafés, or PC Bangs, have become a bastion for young, tech-savvy Koreans who pay an hourly fee to play the most popular video games against other people in the room.
eSports is a global affair these days, with players from every continent enjoying the fun and international competitions taking place on the regular. The term has evolved over time and currently encompasses all gaming at professional and competitive levels with a following that’s engaged. Today, eSports games have become much more like traditional sports!
The word itself is interesting. eSports can be a singular noun when it’s referring to the industry, a plural noun when it refers to a range of different eSports, and it can also refer to a singular competitive game, so Mobile Legends Bang Bang is an eSport.
Which Video Games Fall Under the eSports Category?
In theory, any type of video game is an eSport. If it’s competitive, there are prizes available, and there’s a willing audience, it’s an eSport! Some of the more unusual eSports include Tic Tac Bow, a virtual archery game; Pokémon, an invite-only competition that features video games and the trading card game; and Killer Instinct, a franchise heavy in combos that includes the 2013 Killer Instinct reboot. Then there’s Farming Simulator, where it’s all in the anime, and Turbo Racing League, where players race snails.
But the most well-known eSports fall into one of several categories:
- Fighting Games
Fighting games include BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Dragon Ball, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Super Smash Bros.
- Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or MOBA Games
This list includes League of Legends, Dota 2, Smite, Heroes of the Storm, and Strife.
- Shooter Games
Like Call of Duty, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, and Valorant.
- Strategy Games
Strategy games include Starcraft, Warcraft, XCOM 2, Civilization 5, and Marvel’s Midnight Suns and require players to use their wits.
With eSports, unlike traditional sports, there’s always a risk that a game will be discontinued, bringing the competitions to an end, like the way Counter-Strike 2 is currently replacing CS:GO.
Which Teams Dominate the eSports Scene?
There are excellent eSports teams all over the world, ranging from the American FaZe Clan and China’s Tianba to Germany’s G2 eSports and France’s Vitality. These teams operate much like football clubs do, with teams having headquarters in one country but their players hailing from all over the place. G2’s League of Legends team, for example, has players from Canada, Denmark, France, and Slovenia.
In MOBA games, each of the players will have a role to fill, in the same way they would if they were playing traditional sports. Players will also have nicknames. For example, Johan Sundstein, the Dota 2 superstar from Denmark, is known as N0tail.
Do Any Female eSports Competitors Exist?
Women are severely underrepresented in eSports, even though they make up almost 50% of all video game players. Sexual harassment reports and gender discrimination at major developers have recently seen the eSports industry implement changes.
One of the most memorable cases was at the American Riot Games company, the organisation responsible for smash hits like Valorant and League of Legends. The business, based in Los Angeles, agreed to pay US$100 million in 2021 to settle a sexual harassment and gender discrimination court case that female members of the company brought into the public eye. They reported that they were getting paid less than their male counterparts and were not able to advance their careers in the same way.
Nowadays, there are conscious efforts by industry leaders to get more females involved in esports. G2 eSsports, for example, recently debuted its first all-women League of Legends team, the second in its history. FIFA’s eSports branch has also recently announced FAMEHERGAME, an initiative designed to bring more women into the eSports arena.
How Much Money Is Involved in eSports?
The worldwide eSports market has been projected to reach a revenue of nearly US$4 billion in 2023. This is expected to show a compound annual growth rate between 2023 and 2028 of 8.62%, with this resulting in a projected market volume of nearly US$6 billion by 2028. These numbers include income from digital revenue, in-game purchases, media rights, merchandise, publisher fees, sponsorships, streaming, and tickets for events.
While this is still nowhere near global video game revenue, which currently stands at nearly US$500 billion, eSports has been growing steadily and more and more rapidly recently. Plus, this growth is having a good knock-on effect on the electronics and computer hardware industries as more people get involved in gaming and start buying special computers and equipment.
What Is the Appeal of eSports?
Experts estimate that there are 200+ million eSports fans around the world and millions of people bet on the outcome of eSports games, much like they’d bet on casino games at Jackpot Wheel casino. The biggest tournaments frequently fill stadiums with thousands of fans who venture out to watch live-action gameplay unfold on enormous screens. The atmosphere at these competitions is much like it is at traditional sports events. Fans dress up, occasionally in very elaborate cosplay outfits. They wait in line to get the autographs of their favourite players. They get very emotional when their teams do well.
The appeal of eSports has several components:
- Better Income
eSports offer better pay than traditional sports do.
- Career Opportunities
There are multiple jobs available in eSports, including booking agents, journalists, marketing executives, players, and referees.
- Individual Skills
eSports offer a platform for individuals to really shine, thanks to the skills they’ve mastered.
eSports connects fans of games with professional players and teams via social media and live events.
eSports sees people building their interpersonal skills and strengthening their ability to work as a team.
eSports is not only expected to stay, but it looks likely to reshape the way we think about competition, entertainment, and sports because it’s inclusive of ecommerce, gaming, media, and pop culture.