Happy Wednesday Players! This post will be a special guest post from a writer on Twitter @EthanThomasJnr regarding his thoughts on Esports! Make sure to give him a follow if you enjoy the post and would like to read more from him!
Since the dawn of time, man has competed against each other for gold and glory. Today is no different with the latest and greatest test of skill, speed, strength, strategy, and tactics being professional competitive video gaming, enter Esports. Yip. You heard videogaming correctly, no longer the pastime of basement dwellers or angsty teenagers gaming is now seen as a reliable test of manhood, skill, and technique and is even regarded as a valid career choice for a skilled few.
This form of competition facilitated by an electronic system and mediated by a human-computer interface is seeing teenagers earn millions of dollars, seeing the signing of lucrative sponsorship deals, dating supermodels and racing fast cars – it is also something that they inherently enjoy doing. Job Goals? I am still not sure? This form of organized multiplayer video game competition involves real-time strategy fighting first-person shooter (FPS ) and multiplayer online battle arena’s ( MOBA). What used to be a recreational pastime now sits on the edge of becoming recognized as a real spot with analytical data services dubbing Esports as the biggest thing to hit the tech industry since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, with the buzz around Esports only ever moving forward. Esports is not necessarily the hallmark of a conventional sport, as the competition is augmented by technology. However, the consensus is that when physical exertion and sheer power are eliminated, reflexes and mental agility come to the fore. With Esports becoming what every traditional sports league is desperate to become; young, global, digital and increasingly diverse, it’s no surprise that in our instant digital world sports can now be virtual. Tournaments such as The International, The League of Legends World Championship, and the Intel Extreme Masters all provide live broadcasts of the competition, as well as lucrative prize money to the winning competitors, bring in a crowd of about 71.5 million viewers of Esports worldwide, 85% being male and 15% being female. Majority of the viewers are between the ages of 28 and 34 and the global esports market generating US$ 493 million in revenue in 2016. You heard right. 493 million.
Top-level players are now able to compete in video games the way other athletes compete in football or tennis. So how does one become a part of this prosperous industry? Is it more than just spending hours in a darkened room illuminated only by the ambient glow of a tv screen. The answer is yes. These professional gamers spend most of their time doing exactly what conventional sports athletes do: train. A Lot. Now the training might not involve several laps or stretches, but it does require countless hours practicing, various tactics, strategies, and techniques. Taking a lot of dedication and hard work, it’s important to pick your game, practice and stay motivated. Esports, specifically CSGO, has experienced an explosion in popularity throughout the world, not only with its increase in viewership via game streaming services like Youtube and Twitch but as well as through its reality show on TBS network and a documentary on VICE called “The Celebrity Millionaires of Competitive Gaming.” With that, a new narrative was born: the Esports athlete lifestyle of the rich and nerdy. Esports players are now able to form teams, attract sponsors and compete in online tournaments all around the world. Esports has the power to make you more than a gamer, more than an athlete but a brand. There is so much that the new digital age brings us, but aside from our ability to order pizza from just about anywhere at any time of the day and our narcissistic Instagram feeds and excessive filters technology is now offering a new way to look at how we define not only sport but athletes too.
They say the meek will inherit the earth and with Esports taking over the sports industry have the athletes of yesterday lost their place in the limelight? Does our society no longer think that the physical aspects of the sport are the truest testament of skill and strength? Or is there something more? Does the 21st century hold mental agility and strategies to be of a higher value than that of the physical attributes? No longer a game for amateurs, your nerdy lab partner or your annoying younger brother. Esports players are taking over our world, not just virtually but physically to. Celebrity endorsements from the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Aoki, and Ashton Kutcher have skyrocketed the popularity of the game even further even having Esports under consideration for a medal event in the 2024 Olympics.
It is clear that for Esports this is just the beginning of pushing the boundaries and altering perceptions. The world is literally the Esports oyster, and the possibilities are endless.