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Does E-Sports Have the Potential to Become As Popular As Real Sports?

January 31, 2013

Electronic Sports (E-Sports) is also known as competitive gaming. Games are classified into different three main genres, Real Time Strategy, First Person Shooters and Massively Multiplayer Online. These games are played either on a PC or console. Competitive gaming has been around for the past two decades, but has become more of a sport within the past few years.

Gaming in the Past

E-Sports developed in the Eastern and Western part of the world, separated by region and culture. In the early 1900’s, Korea had a massive growth in internet, giving them other forms of multiplayer entertainment such as Starcraft. This Real Time Strategy game proved to be a source of entertainment for both players and viewers in the game’s early stages. The game eventually expanded into a sport where teams were formed to compete against one another. This is currently one of Korea’s main sources of entertainment, with a couple of television channels committed solely to Starcraft.

This video was posted in 2006, when playing a game was hardly considered a job. The video takes places in Korea; two of the strongest players fighting against each other in a game of Starcraft. At the start of the video, you can see the sea of fans who pay to watch these two gamers play. At 3:21, the Korean commentators and fans start to cheer violently for one of the gamers (Boxer), who is executing a very risky tactic.

American and European gaming revolved around First Person Shooters and capture the flag gameplay. Although their matches were broadcasted over the internet rather than television, their gaming leagues were modeled after major professional sports leagues, offering offline tournaments across the different regions. Many of these online athletes did not earn income from playing at a high level, but rather playing for their strong passion and commitment towards the game.

Tournaments and Leagues

When a professional online gamer joins a team, the player gets paid a salary exactly like a professional athlete. Most players put their academic studies on hold while pursuing an interest that they strongly believe in. They train on a daily basis to compete in upcoming matches and tournaments. In North America, there are several tournaments that are hosted year round by Major League Gaming. As well, there are a number of gaming events that are held at these MLGs, such as Starcraft II, League of Legends and Call of Duty for being the most popular games. At these events, players compete against each other, meet their fans and to represent their team. These events are sponsored by computer and energy drink companies such as Razor, Asus, Red Bull and Monster. The prize pool is dependent on the number of sponsors. Popular games tend to have a larger prize pool.

League matches are played either online or at a local setting. Players from each team face off against each other. The team that has won more games will become the victor of the match. Similar to real sports, both teams meet at an agreed area. E-sport matches have the option to be played in the comfort of their own homes if it is allowed.

Technology in Today’s Society

With the advance in today’s technology, new video games being released are expected to have high expectations. While trying to create a unique concept, the game must keep up with other competing video games. Old games are also being updated and look for ways to keep current players involved with their features. As the gaming industry is evolving over time, real sports have become somewhat stagnant, as it is a lot harder for these sports to make adjustments to their rules and the strategies used within the game.

As the world starts to become a global community, players are able to compete against each other from different parts of the world! The ability to compete with foreign players is an experience that should never be forgotten. Without the expenses of traveling, you could be learning different tactics and skills from players from China!

Why E-Sports Can Surpass Real Sports

Competitive gaming has been around for two decades, driven by the passion of the players. Although it is not as popular as the NFL or NBA, e-sports is becoming a wide-spread industry. With the younger generation relying more on technology than we do, they have a higher chance to spark an interest in video gaming.

As a spectator of e-sports myself, I’ve spent countless hours gaming since I was young. Having a background in both competitive sports and e-sports, I’ve always debated which activity felt the most rewarding. Sports have developed my reflexes and level of physical activity, while E-Sports grants more opportunity in developing your decision-making, theory-crafting and intellectual skills. Both activities stimulate different of your body, but I have found that competitive gaming is more rewarding; due to the fact there is a higher skill ceiling than real sports. In the E-Sports industry, there is more of a variety of games to choose, each with different objectives and controls. The feeling of learning and becoming skilled at a game invigorates and inspires you to test your abilities against other players from the comfort of your own house.

I believe that the E-Sports industry is still in its infant stages, and has erupted significantly in the past few years. Within the next few years, it wouldn’t be a surprise if e-sports began expanding into the television market.

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