A Brief History of Esports
In 2013, around 32 million viewers came online to watch the League of Legends tournament. That number is greater than the combined audience that watched the final episode of 24, Breaking Bad and The Sopranos. Considering that games such as League of Legends, Overwatch and other multiplayer games have so much pull, advertisers, marketers and other similar parties cannot ignore eSports anymore.
eSports have indeed arrived. With its fan base increasing across the world, the prize money now topping half a million dollars and new games being developed for players, there is no doubt that it will soon leave the other major tournaments and sporting events behind.
Major companies and brands have also noticed this surge of popularity. Brands like Redbull, Coca Cola and American Express have readily signed sponsorship deals worth millions of dollars and have even offered and given support to players.
The major boost to eSports however comes from the games themselves. Game developers are now focusing on creating immersive, competitive online gaming experiences. Titanfall, Call of Duty and lately, Overwatch are such examples where the target market was in fact online multiplayers. Even GTA which has always been single player game came with an online multiplayer version with its latest iteration.
eSports has also glorified the players that take part rigorous tournaments. When it comes to multiplayer events, players need to be sharp, have quick reflexes and work with their teams to ensure they win. This requires them to practice for hours. Professional players are also gaining celebrity like status across the globe as they are now representing their countries as well. Along with the lucrative prizes that they win, they also get sponsorship deals that are worth millions.
Online broadcasting is now integral part of eSports. With mobile devices coupled with data connections, gamers and fans alike can connect to the games from any place and be part of the action. This is why Twitch has been adopted so quickly where gamers can broadcast themselves playing games live to millions. It’s like Facebook live but specifically for gamers. Live tournaments are also broadcasted live to many, meaning audiences for these games will get bigger and bigger every year.
eSports events are like any other sporting event. There is a lot of promotion, live commentators detail every move made by the players, and millions of dollars are at stake and live audiences, making it hard for anyone to tell a difference between the two.
eSports has a short, but rich history that you can learn about in this great infographic by Computer Planet: