Understanding the Development of Esports

As the market of Esports keeps on growing, we dive deep into the development of the Esports market with various games coming into the market.

Staff Reporter
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Now, you might have your views on what is sport and what isn't. If you're not familiar with esports, esports is a type of gaming in which players play against each other in a competitive environment, to put it simply. Skill and professionalism are celebrated. At tournaments, either amateur or professional, the esports athletes will compete for a cash prize. Tournaments are highly engaging and the phenomenon of watching esports for entertainment has taken off around the world.

One of the factors that have contributed to the popularity of esports has been the gaming world itself. Esports players have begun to see the value in casino gaming. Betting on esports has also become popular and casinos will offer this as well as table games and traditional sports betting, whereas many online casinos such as 777 casino concentrate their offering on casino gaming, including slots.

The origins of esports

Competitive gaming is relatively new as a phenomenon, but technically, it goes back as far as the 1970s. The earliest video games, such as "Tennis for Two" and "Pong", were competitive, both of them involving players hitting a pixelated ball back and forth to post a higher score than the other player.

One of the first and most popular competitive gaming events took place back in the early 1980s, in the form of an Atari Space Invaders competition. Some 10,000 entrants battled to achieve the highest score. Before this, a smaller event had taken place at Stanford University in 1972 for Space War.

In 1981, the gaming world record organisation Twin Galaxies would form and start tracking top scores in titles such as "Space Invaders" and "Donkey Kong". Competitive gaming would continue to develop. In 1996, the first major "Street Fighter" tournament took place, titled "Battle by the Bay", in California, and later "EVO".

It was in the 2000s that esports really hit their stride and went on to get bigger and bigger. The rise of broadband and video content enabled more gamers than ever to come together, play online and stay connected. Sponsors also became increasingly attracted to esports. As a result, prize pools grew bigger, the standard of play became higher and the general infrastructure around competitive gaming also grew.

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What is about esports that transforms them into a sport?

Some will challenge the concept of esports as a sport, but there are plenty of reasons why esports qualify as sports in their own right.

The main one, of course, is the highly competitive nature of esports. These sports pit players, or teams of players, against each other just like more physically demanding sports. They also require hand-eye coordination and are just as capable of filling arenas as traditional sports.

These aren't the only elements that justify the categorisation of esports as sports. Teamwork, strategy and skill, all attributes of regular sports, are likewise present in esports. Drafts, fantasy leagues and betting are all related elements as well. Naturally, the esports industry itself is very clear that esports are sports.

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The evolution of esports in other aspects

The prize money up for grabs isn't the only aspect of esports that has grown. Esports has also captured the attention of the media in a major way. Major TV channels and networks such as ESPN, SyFy and Telemundo have all partnered up with an esports platform to broadcast esports events.

Then there are streaming networks such as Twitch. These, of course, allow fans of gaming to tune in and watch professional esports play video games live. Spotting the potential of Twitch, and wishing to display its belief in the future of gaming, Amazon bought the platform in 2014 for $970 million. In fact, streaming happens to be one of the fastest-growing sources of revenue for esports.

Not only the media and one of the world's biggest companies, and by no means the only major name, has recognised the potential of esports. Household names in the world of sport have also spotted the opportunities esports offer. The owner of the New York Patriots, Robert Kraft, and former pro basketball Shaquille O' Neal both have stakes in esports teams.

What the future could hold for esports

Since esports is relatively young as a competitive phenomenon, the future is bright and exciting. Fans can expect all sorts of developments. No one can truly predict the future, of course, but here are a few forecasts some out there have been making:

Mobile first esports

Mobile gaming, in general, is huge and esports only accounts for a small share of the market. This means mobile gaming creates a plethora of opportunities for esports. Mobile-oriented developers and game companies have an enormous runway for growth, compared to console gaming companies.

Gaming influencers

A lot of professional esports athletes have hung up their handsets competitively and switched to serving as content creators. These people aren't the only ones who have seen a future in content creation. Esports organisations, gaming companies and sponsors have begun to allocate some of their resources to working with gaming influencers or content creators. Esports has an incredibly bright future of it and has become an outstanding form of entertainment for many, not to mention a way of making a living for others. The industry is experiencing innovation after innovation. All eyes are on it to see what's next.