What is eSports?

The first video game ever made was patented in 1947, a simple analogue device designed to emulate a missile targeting system. However, video games did not become more widely popular until almost thirty years later, when Atari’s pong became quite popular in the United States. Since 1980s, these games and gaming systems have become a vital part of the entertainment industry and everyday life for the average person. Almost every household in America has either a gaming system or a computer to play video games on, and as a result of this popularity, a new industry is forming around the video gaming culture.

Videos on platforms such as Youtube of individuals playing video games have gained immense popularity over the previous decade. Even as early as 2010, there were video game players making enough money to live on by streaming and broadcasting their gameplay online, and being paid to advertise for various companies. eSports, also sometimes referred to as electronic sports, are competitions between professional video game players that are now played on television, not just shown online. This world of professional video game playing involves hundreds of millions of dollars today, and could soon be taken seriously on a more mainstream level.

According to some surveys, this year alone as many as 400 million individuals worldwide will watch some form of eSports, and approximately half of those people do so regularly. The audience for professional video game playing is focused primarily in the United States and China, as well as South Korea. The fans that regularly watch eSports are numerous enough to sustain tournaments and events with crowds that rival that of traditional sports like Baseball or Soccer. ESPN has begun broadcasting video game tournaments as well, bringing the professional video game leagues to an audience of sports fans who were unaware of their existence.

This year, the money made from eSports revenue is expected to grow past a billion dollars, making money for a variety of industries. Everyone from the sports drink advertisers to the video game developers stands to make more and more money from eSports as time goes on. While it may seem strange to the older generations, who did not grow up with video games as a part of their day to day lives, video game playing is undeniably a professional sporting profession. The top players in the world all make more than six figures a year, an income better than some professional athletes can expect to make in say Tennis. Colleges are now participating as welle, forming more than fifty varsity eSports programs across the country. One day in the near future, eSports will dominate the entire sports industry, in both popularity and lucrativity.