Romans had their gladiator games and medieval men enjoyed by cavalry jousts, but then the renaissance and humanism struck and this kind of violent entertainment was no longer acceptable. After this, for quite a long time there was a void in society that only modern sports were able to fill, in the dusk of the second millennium. However, it wasn’t long until it was time for mass entertainment to evolve once more. Some analysts today predict that what the sports were for 20th century, eSports will be for 21st century.
What are eSports?
To put it simply, eSports is a term for organized multiplayer video game competitions and tournaments between professional players and teams. Now, traditional sport consists of competitive physical activity and since eSports clearly lack the physical aspect, they are often disputed by critics and sports fans. One thing however cannot be negated, the competitive spirit of mankind is respectively preserved in eSports. So, when it comes to the fandom, popularity and the general approach towards this phenomenon of the modern age, it would be easy to say that today eSports are on the rise.
The change in audience
When it comes to video games, there is often a misunderstanding between the generations. Pre 70s generations perceive videogames as they used to look back in their age. Perfect examples of these games are Pac-Man, Donkey Kong or Galaga (most of them actually were represented in Adam Sandler’s latest attempt at comedy in Pixels). Because of their simple graphics and lack of in-depth storyline these games were considered childish and therefore only suitable to be played by children. However, one might be shocked to learn that according to 2015 statistic an average gamer is 31 years old. Also, never before were videogames of all genres so popular among the female population. All in all, modern video gaming is not a force to be reckoned with.
Insane prize pools
In 2015, Dota 2 broke their own previous record for the greatest prize pool from 2014 ($10,931,103.00) by setting the amount at the amazing $18,429,613.05. Now if this doesn’t say enough about the seriousness of modern video gaming industry nothing will. Almost every other game of similar caliber has its own impressive prize pool like Smite $2,612,259.00 (2015) and League of Legends (LoL) $2,130,000.00 (2014). However, these are mostly prizes for the world championship, while smaller tournaments, with almost equally impressive rewards, are getting more numerous by the hour.
Apart from the money influx and the change in the audience, one more thing that sets eSports above common video gaming is the amount of organization invested into it. Even though Dota 2 has largest prize pools in gaming, LoL is still the undisputed sovereign of eSports. League of Legends Championship Series of LCS is European and North American professional League of Legends competition. Every game is held live in an overcrowded studio with a professional shout casting and analyst desk. Players of the most prestigious teams in the LCS are almost as famous as basketball or football players, and their transfers from one team to another are always in the loophole of attention.
In 2014, LoL held a world championship in Seoul, South Korea. The opening ceremony before the final match was followed by a concert by Imagine Dragons. This American rock band also recorded an anthem of the championship titled Warriors. This just goes to show that these competitive games are no longer to be compared with child’s play or a hobby, but a full scale showbiz spectacle.
Another thing that is required for a sport (or in this case eSport) to become genuine is a proper fandom. This is what video gaming is slowly but inevitably building at the moment. Competitive matches between eSports teams in Dota 2, LoL and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are followed by hundreds of thousands and even millions via Twitch, Azubu or YouTube. Teams and individual players have their own fan bases which never miss a single game. The names of these players are chanted in massive halls and even louder in the hearts of their fans.
Taken all of this into a consideration, it is hard not to admit that eSports may well be the thing to look forward to in the future. The prizes are getting larger, fans are getting crazier than ever and there are more and more professional gamers out there every single day. Some may choose to ignore or even defy this course of events, but one thing is certain- from this point on there is no turning back. Still, there is no reason to take our word for it, check out the 2015 League of Legends World Championship finals tomorrow and see with your own eyes how fascinating eSports can be .