The world of sport is full of diversity. Traditional athletes hone their bodies through physical training, chess players refine their mental muscles and race drivers are demanding of both their mind and body.
In the world of eSports and competitive video games, everything is a little different. However, these athletes must also be physically fit, exercise regularly, train and practice to master their chosen game whether it is developing winning strategies or learning the multitude of key or button combinations to defeat the opponent that they are competing against. For most people, it may be bizarre to imagine two computer gamers sat in front of their screens on a stage frantically working with mouse and keyboard or game controller as hundreds of people cheer and watch the game on a huge screen but this is exactly what you can expect to see in the biggest tournaments – tournaments which are also being covered on TV and streamed on the internet as well. This is the pinnacle to which all professional gamers aspire.
The rise of eSports
Since the development of the first video games, players have been looking for the possibility to compete against each other as well as the machine itself. The term “eSport” was also coined as these competitions grew in size and popularity, basically describing video games gone spectator sport. The development of broadband connections and the growing importance of the internet have increased interest in electronic sports too. In fact, eSports are getting more and more of the traditional sports treatment, with outlets like ESPN covering them and even specialized betting websites such as Master Mazuma popping up to offer eSports betting markets. The latter provides sign-up bonuses and offers similar to traditional bookies, available for players who pre-register. World championships are now filling entire stadiums and attracting millions of people in front of the screens. With live streaming via the internet, more and more viewers around the world are able to get in on the action.
The production values for the League of Legends World Championship, for example, make even large US TV stations envious, because they offer hour-long preview events, analyses, expert discussions and passionate commentators to entice millions of people to sit in front of the screens. eSports have also become popular across the borders of South Korea and Asia and are now recognized as a sport in Europe as well as North and South America. The contests attract huge audiences that fill entire stadiums, and are broadcast live over various popular online streaming services over the internet. ESports is definitely the hottest trend in the world of video games. As early as 2000, the first national eSports association was founded and is even now a member organization of the Korean Olympic Committee.
Video games have long been a major influence on South Korean culture, society and even the economy. Some TV stations report exclusively on eSports. The general media interest is huge and the players themselves are becoming famous personalities. Economically, more than 200,000 jobs have been created for eSport within four years, with the trend increasing. There is a huge variety of games that are competed in. From strategy games to collectable card games such as Hearthstone, combative games both one on one or team based such as DOTA2 or CS GO the key to success is always the same: practice, hone your skills, learn the nuances of the game and have the determination to pursue victory. Not only can you watch the action on TV but also on online platforms such as Twitch.tv, where millions of players meet to explore a gigantic digital world, play, fight and spend time together. As more and more people become interested in the games, the greater the media interest will be too, and so eSports will continue to grow following in the footsteps of the more traditional sports.