What Is eSports? (The Answer May Surprise You)


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What is esports
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Competitive video gaming has only just begun to take off around the world. Millions of spectators tune in via online streaming to watch their favorite elite professional gamers compete against each other to win various championship titles and huge prize earnings. So what is eSports exactly? eSports is the global gaming phenomenon that organizes the competitive play of video games. In this article, we’ll explain how eSports began, how they are played and much more.

The explosive growth of eSports

Decades before YouTube and the internet, and years before Playstation, Xbox, and even Nintendo, competitive digital gaming has always been around, but due to the stereotypes of amateur and professional gamers, the popularity of these events was often hidden in plain sight. Largely pushed to the fringes of society, gaming tournaments that were once relegated to mother’s basements, college dorms, and small arcades are now being held in mega sports arenas around the world that hold 30,000+ seats and state of the art Megatron screens.

The eSports industry is undergoing a renaissance in terms of how the world is now is coming to view digital gaming communities, their popularity, and the mass financial impact they can have in the real world. According to Newzoo, by 2020 eSports is expected to generate over $1.5 billion (with a B) annually. To understand why eSports has blown up into the huge phenomenon it is, you first must understand the history of how it developed.

The history of eSports and competitive gaming

the history of gaming helps answer the questions what is esports?

The history of competitive gaming, which would come to be known today as eSports, first surfaced on a large scale in the 1980’s when then gaming giant Atari hosted the Space Invaders World Championship in 1980. The event was one of the first of it’s kind to draw massive participation from approximately 10,000 attendees, and many gaming evangelists believe this was the inception of modern high profile gaming tournaments. Atari, while already a hugely popular in Japan and many other Asian countries, found massive success in the United States with the Atari 2600 model console after the launch of its critically acclaimed flagship title video game called Space Invaders.

From that point on, the competitive gaming industry experienced rapid growth and an explosion in popularity. More game titles began to be released on various platforms, and also some of the industry’s young gaming superstars, such as legendary competitive game player Billy Mitchell, who set multiple game-high score world records, began to receive notoriety in hugely popular magazines such as Life and Time.

what is esports competitive gaming?

Throughout the 1980 and 1990s, eSports competitive gaming grew from just a niche following of young enthusiast to reaching mainstream television shows such as Starcade, which ran from 1982 to 1983, and was a show entirely focused on contestants competing against each other in arcade-style games. Also, the prospect of setting new high scores in gaming was heightened as the Guinness Book of World Records began to keep track of official record-setting scores amassed by gamers and fueled new interest from gamers of all ages.

However, with all of the success and notoriety eSports competitive gaming began to gather during the 1980s and 1990s, there were also negative societal stereotypes that started to be associated with the eSports generation of gamers and unfortunately helped keep a lid on an explosive cultural revolution from genuinely hitting mainstream popular culture until decades later. It wasn’t until the internet reached technical maturity that eSports were finally provided a way to go viral and attract the attention young gamer’s around the world, allowing them to form strong communities and continue to grow the phenomena that began decades earlier. 

So now that you know the history of eSports and how it developed over time, it’s important to understand how its played.

How is eSports played?

How is esports played

eSports is not just made up of one video game. And that’s precisely why it attracts so many people from around the world. Almost any video game can be turned into an eSports match or league. So whether you are into multiplayer online battle arena games like League of Legends or Dota 2 or like first-person shooter style games like Call of Duty or Counter-Stike, or if you prefer games that model traditional sports like FIFA or NBA 2k, you are highly likely to find an eSports league to play in or watch. If you’re interested in learning what the top eSports games are right now, check out our post on the 10 best eSports games you should play right now.

Each game is different and unique and has a different way to play. A lot of popular games these days are team-based and require multiple players to join in a match. And some video games are played individually without a team. The good news is that eSports feature both types of games: individual and multi-player. So whether you prefer to play or watch one or the other, you’re in luck because you can find both in eSports!

So what’s next after you know whether a game is a team-based or individual based game? From there you need a way to compete against others in matches. So it’s important to know that the structure of eSports is broken down into two main aspects. The first is a team or individual. These are the players who either play with each other on the same side or individually. If a video game is individually based, like FIFA, you only need one player to enter a match. If it’s team-based, you’ll need multiple players to enter into a match. 

The second aspect of eSports is a competitive organization. This organization takes shape in the form of leagues, tournaments, and ladders. These three things are all competitively organized ways for eSports gamers to compete against each other. 

What is eSports league play?

Leagues are made up of individuals or teams on opposing sides who compete against each other in matches. You can’t have a league without multiple players or teams to play against each other. It’s exactly like other traditional sports leagues like the NFL or the NBA. Players join teams, and the teams are in the league and compete against each other. Each league usually has a season, which lasts several weeks or months. Members of the league compete over that period, usually playing each team in the league in matches. At the end of the season, the player or team with the best record will win, or the league will have a playoff, where the top teams at the end of the season compete in a single-elimination style tournament to decide the league champion.

What is eSports tournament play?

Tournaments are short competitive series of matches between a number of competitors, who compete for an overall prize. They are similar to a league, except they go on for a much shorter time frame, usually one or two days. Tournaments have brackets or pools in which teams or players are seeded to play against each other. Usually, tournaments are single elimination, so competitors play until they lose. An example of a major eSports tournament is the Call of Duty World League Championship, in which 32 of the top Call of Duty teams globally compete each year to crown a winner. Tournaments always have an ending with a champion or winner. 

What is eSports ladder play?

A ladder is similar to a tournament, but it goes on forever, without an end. If you lose in a ladder, you will be placed on a lower ‘rung’ until you win more games. Ladders can go on indefinitely as the person or team sitting on top of the ladder can continuously be swapped out depending on who is the latest victor. So each time you win, you climb ‘up’ the ladder. When you lose you go down the ladder. The objective of ladders is to keep winning to earn the top spot on the leaderboard.

Bringing it all together

Let’s look at an example to put this into practice. Say you want to play League of Legends competitively. This is a multiplayer, team-based game, so you first know that you’ll need to find other gamers to play with on your team. Once you secure your team and have enough players, you must start looking for a competitive organization to play in. You can find an eSports league for your team to join, where you can compete against other League of Legends teams. Or you can look for a tournament to get your team into, where you’ll compete for a grand prize being offered. If you’re not ready to fully commit to a league or tournament, it’s best to start off competing in a ladder, where you can play against other League of Legends teams to earn the top spot on the leaderboard. 

The pro players and teams of eSports

Understanding what is esports
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Over the past several years, eSports players have become overnight celebrities. They’ve made their way into household names and are blowing up on social media. And chances are you’ve probably heard of some of them. Here are some of the top eSports players from across the globe that you should know!

Ninja

Tyler Blevins, commonly referred to as Ninja, is one of the most popular pro gamers on the eSports scene right now. As of August 2018, he is the most-watched streamer on Twitch with over ten million followers and an average of over 50,000 viewers per stream. He even hangs out with the likes of Drake, Travis Scott, Odell Beckham Jr., Juju Smith-Schuster, Logic, The Weeknd, and more. He initially earned his way to gaming stardom by becoming one of the best Halo 3 players, but after a few years decided to try his hand at other games. in 2017, he absolutely blew up the eSports gaming world by taking on Fortnite. His popularity really shot up with the growth of Fortnite. And his success can mainly be attributed to streaming his gameplay on Twitch and YouTube. Whether it’s for entertainment purposes or because they want to learn from the best, millions of people tune in to watch him play. He has brought more attention to the world of eSports as his celebrity status has grown and has been extremely active on social media. 

Faker

Lee Sang-hyeok, or Faker, is a South Korean superstar gamer. He exclusively plays League of Legends and is a three-time League of Legends World Championship winner as a member of the incredibly talented SKT T1 K esports team. He started playing League of Legends in 2011 after he discovered it while browsing the internet. He quickly gained notoriety by reaching #1 on the ranked ladder and eventually was recruited by the Korean eSports organization, SK Telecom T1. He is known for his high mechanical skill while playing League of Legends and his ability to play any champion at the top professional level. In 2017 he even won the title of Best eSports Player at the 2017 The Game Awards. Faker is an absolute eSports legend and is considered by many as the best League of Legends player of all-time.

KuroKy

Kuro Salehi Takhasomi, also known as KuroKy, is a German professional gamer. He has taken the world by storm by making a name for himself with his Dota 2 gameplay. According to www.esportsearnings.com, KuroKy is the highest paid eSports gamer of all time, earning over $3.7 million in prize money to date. He started playing video games at the age of 10 and quickly found his calling when playing the original Defense of the Ancients (Dota). KuroKy quickly earned his way onto German pro-gaming teams, including World Eaters. After a long span of playing with different teams, he finally joined Team Liquid in 2015. He’s experienced a ton of success on this team and has helped lead them to win the annual Dota 2 championship tournament called The International. He has played in The International every year since 2011 and finally found major success by winning the whole thing in 2017.

Top eSports teams

Individual players aren’t the only ones who’ve made a name for themselves in eSports. There are thousands of eSports teams out there, but only a small fraction of those can call themselves a professional team. Over the past few years, a few, in particular, have earned their way into fame. Some of those teams are highlighted below, although there are many more that exists.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid was formed in 2000 as a clan on Battle.net. They have since turned into one of the most popular and influential sports in all of eSports. At this point, Team Liquid has grown so much that they function as a club, with a collection of pro teams and players across 14 video games. Some of their current top players include KuroKy, MinD_ContRoL, Impact, and Ken (also known as the King of Smash). In 2016, Team Liquid sold its controlling interest to aXiomatic Gaming, an investment group made up of several powerful investors including NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Team Liquid has won over $21.4 million collectively in prize earnings since its creation, placing them on top of the list for overall team earnings.

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses is another major professional eSports team franchise based in San Francisco, CA. The team was originally founded in 1999 and has blossomed into one of gaming’s most well-known teams. They also operate as a club, having a professional team across seven different video games, including Dota 2, Call of Duty, Rocket League, and more. They’ve enjoyed winning several major championships with their teams, such as The International 2015 (Dota 2) and more recently the 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship. They’re also currently ranked #2 on the list for overall team earnings, raking in over $17.4 million.

Newbee

Newbee is a Chinese eSports organization that was founded in 2014. They have professional teams for Dota 2, Hearthstone, and League of Legends. They are third on the list for top eSports team earnings, bringing in over $12.6 million in just over four years. The most popular Newbee team is their squad for Dota 2, who won The International 2014, which earned them $5 million in prize money (the highest ever at the time). 

What are some of the top eSports leagues and tournaments?

esports leagues and teams

It is first important to note, that the term eSports is just a classifier for a collection of individual gaming leagues and tournaments. There is not one single official governing body over all of the different leagues (at least not yet), such as with NFL, NBA, MLB, or NCAA. Instead, each league is typically defined by a single or multiple video game titles, and every team or independent athletes within those leagues compete by playing against other teams or independent athletes within the same league. This may sound a little confusing, but this will begin to make more sense as we go through the article.

Similar to international club soccer, eSports leagues can have varying degrees of talent, popularity, revenue generation, sponsorships, notoriety, athlete compensation, and fan following. eSports leagues have been traditionally comprised of two separate types of organizers which are: third party organizers (TPO’s) and game manufacturers. Historically, the vast majority eSports leagues and tournaments were organized by small independent TPO’s (colleges, local gaming clubs, etc.) and some of the most significant national eSports events were held annually and sponsored by the game manufacturers themselves. However, in recent years we have seen that the game manufacturers are getting directly involved in forming their own branded eSports leagues and tournaments.

For example, some of the biggest names in eSports leagues and tournaments were started by the game manufactures that actually created the video game in which the league competes. For example, Blizzard Entertainment, creator of mega-successful video game titles such as Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, and StarCraft, also started the Overwatch eSports league. The Overwatch eSports league focuses exclusively on the Overwatch video game and currently has 12 teams, two divisions, and teams based everywhere from San Fransisco to Shanghai.

In addition, there are TPO’s such as the Electronic Sports League (ESL) which brand themselves as the largest eSports company in the world and produces a large amount of eSports leagues and tournaments all across the globe. It is an important distinction to recognize that one of the biggest differences between TPO’s and game manufacturer eSports events is that typically TPO’s will produce eSports leagues and tournaments that can span various video games titles, video game manufacturers, hardware platforms, and technologies. Game manufacturers will typically align their leagues and tournaments on their in-house produced video games. As eSports continues it’s massive expansion each year, the competition between TPO’s and game manufactures for eSports supremacy has yet to be determined.

Third-Party Organizer (TPO) eSports leagues and tournaments

We’ve put together a list of a few third parties organized eSports leagues and tournaments below for you to check out and learn more about. Please note this is not a comprehensive list but gives you an idea of the various eSports leagues and tournaments that currently exist.

Electronic Sports League (ESL)

Electronic Sports League, also known as ESL, would be classified as a third party organizer and is a branch of the international digital entertainment group MTG and brands itself as the world’s largest eSports company. The company maintains a global footprint with offices in China, Germany, France, North America, Russia, Spain, and Poland and also partners with other countries around the globe to produce some of the largest and well-known eSports leagues and tournaments. Founded in the year 2000 and based out of Cologne, Germany, ESL is recognized as being the oldest eSports company still in business today. Back in 2015, it was reported that Swedish media company Modern Times Group (MTG) made an $87 million acquisition of the parent company of Electronic Sports League, making it one of the largest eSports acquisitions in history. ESL partners with game manufacturers such as Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Valve, Corporation, and Microsoft Studios among others.

Here are some examples of the leagues and tournaments that ESL sponsors and runs:

  • Intel Extreme Masters
    • Branded as the longest running pro gaming tour in the world
    • Started in 2006 by ESL
    • Features competition in the following video games:
      • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
      • StarCraft II
      • League of Legends
  • ESL One
    • A global eSports event series
    • Features competition in the following video games:
      • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
      • Dota 2
  • ESL Pro League
    • Features competition in the following video games:
      • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
      • Rainbow Six: Siege
      • Halo
  • ESL Play
    • Feature competition across many video game titles and skill levels

Major League Gaming (MLG)

Major League Gaming, or MLG, is another third party organizer of eSports. It was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in New York City. It’s famous for being the first televised eSports league in the United States back in 2006. On its website, MLG states that its mission is to promote eSports globally through premier competition and to deliver premium gaming content to viewers anytime, anywhere through their global streaming platform. Interestingly enough, MLG was acquired by Blizzard Gaming in 2016, but the company is still operated separately and is still considered the third party. MLG continues to partner with other major game manufacturers including Microsoft Studios, Riot Games, EA Sports, and more.

MLG has split their offerings into two areas. The first is called the Pro Circuit, which is made up of several leagues and tournaments for professional gamers and teams. There are currently only eight video games featured in the Pro Circuit, including Overwatch, Call of Duty, Gears of War, and five others. Only professional teams and players can enter in the Pro Circuit, by invite only. However, anyone can support by watching online on MLG’s website, which is also called MGL.TV. MLG also hosts and sponsors live tournaments like the Call of Duty World Championship and the Gears of War Pro Circuit.

The second area is called GameBattles, which is an eSports competition platform that is open for anyone to join and instantly compete in ladders and tournaments. MLG claims this is the largest cross platform online gaming tournament system in the world with 10 million+ registered users. GameBattles features 30+ game options for members to compete in across six different platforms (Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, PC, and mobile). This is an excellent way for aspiring eSports pro gamers to gain experience and compete with high-level competition. If you’re interested in learning more about what it takes to become a professional gamer, check out our article on how to become a pro eSports gamer in 8 steps.

Here are some examples of MLG competitions:

ELEAGUE

ELEAGUE, commonly referred to as EL, is another example of a professional eSports league that was created in 2016 by Turner Broadcasting. Turner is an American media conglomerate that owns and operates several cable television channels including TNT and TBS. As a result, ELEAGUE is regularly broadcasted on cable via TBS. The league also has partnerships with Twitch and YouTube to bring content to online streaming platforms as well. ELEAGUE currently has pro leagues and tournaments for five games: CS:GO, Street Fighter V, Tekken, Injustice 2, and Rocket League. You can check out some of the leagues and tournaments currently hosted by ELEAGUE here:

Though this pro league has only been around since 2016, it’s gaining momentum quickly. With the popularity of eSports spreading like wildfire, we expect ELEAGUE to get even bigger and begin hosting even more leagues for a wider variety of games.

Game manufacturer eSports leagues and tournaments

We’ve also created a list of game manufacturer eSports leagues and tournaments below for you to learn more about. Again, this is not a comprehensive list but will give you a better picture of the various competitions currently offered by game manufacturers.

Picture of a large room full of gamers playing pc games

The Overwatch League

The Overwatch League brands itself as the first major global eSports league with city-based teams. Overwatch, is the hit video game title from Blizzard Entertainment, and the focus of the league involves competition playing Overwatch. Blizzard Entertainment not only is the game manufacturer of the Overwatch video game but also is the sponsor of the league itself. Currently hosting 12 city-based teams, the inaugural Overwatch League season kicked off in December 2017 and concluded in August 2018 with an All-Star weekend. Overwatch postseason winners can expect to see prize bonuses up to $1 million in cash. Overwatch league teams are permanent franchises, and teams are represented by either being part of the Atlantic or Pacific divisions. Here’s how the league and teams are currently broken up:

  • Atlantic Division
    • Boston Uprising: Boston, MA
    • Florida Mayhem: Flordia
    • Houston Outlaws: Houston, TX
    • London Spitfire: London
    • New York Excelsior: New York City, NY
    • Philadelphia Fusion: Philadelphia, PA
  • Pacific Division
    • Dallas Fuel: Dallas, TX
    • Los Angeles Gladiators: Los Angeles, CA
    • Los Angeles Valiant: Los Angeles, CA
    • San Fransisco Shock: San Fransisco, CA
    • Seoul Dynasty: Seoul
    • Shanghai Dragons: Shanghai

The International

The International is the annual championship tournament for Dota 2 that is put on by Valve Corporation, the game publisher for Dota 2. The first tournament took place in Cologne, Germany in 2011 and since then, has been held every year. In this tournament, 18 teams start out battling against each other, all vying to earn the top spot as the Dota 2 champion. It’s turned into one of the biggest, if not THE biggest eSports pro tournament in the world, with the highest prize winnings given to finalists. In 2017, the first-place team, Team Liquid, singlehandedly earned over $10 million in prize money. 

FIFA eWorld Cup

The FIFA eWorld Cup (FeWC) is the official tournament for professional gamers who play EA Sports FIFA. It’s been hosted annually by FIFA and EA Sports (the game manufacturer) since 2004. It was formerly called the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) but had a name change starting in 2018. In this tournament, the top FIFA players from all over the globe compete to earn the final championship title. It starts off in qualification mode, in which anyone with a PlayStation4 or Xbox One and the latest copy of FIFA can enter to qualify. It’s an extremely tough qualification as only 16 players make it through to the FIFA eWorld Cup finals. Another 16 players qualify for the finals by competing in one of the FIFA Global Series tournaments throughout the season. So 32 teams in total make it to the finals to compete against each other to earn the FIFA eWorld Cup crown. The 2018 winner was Mosaad “Msdossary” Aldossary of Saudi Arabia, who took home $250,000 in prize money and a trip to the Best FIFA Football Awards!

Heroes of the Dorm

Another game manufacturer league is called Heroes of the Dorm and is also brought to you by Blizzard Entertainment. This league is marketed for college students who play Heroes of the Storm. To participate, students must create their own teams of five with other students from their university. Once teams are formed, they compete against other universities in both a season and playoff in the Heroes of the Dorm league. Almost 200 teams participated in the 2018 Heroes of the Dorm league at the start. After an intense round of regional play, 64 top teams get chosen to compete in bracket play, and at the end, only one champion remains, earning a gaming computer system, plus up to $25,000 in tuition money for up to three years of college. That’s a pretty sweet prize for college kids!

So are eSports athletes actually athletes?

Aspiring eSports gamers playing at a gaming center

When we think of an elite professional athlete we think of the likes of Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Aaron Rodgers, Missy Franklin, Bryce Harper, and the list continues, however one trait that remains constant amongst the most elite in traditional sports is that these athletes can impose their will on opponents not just physically, but also mentally. The term elite professional athlete has always been attributed to a person of exceptional physical ability and one possessing a set of talents that allow them to continually outperform the competition.

With the explosive growth of eSports year after year, many are starting to challenge the notion of the components that make up of an elite professional athlete, and also challenging what exactly classifies organized competition as an actual sport. The eSports rage sweeping the world is ready and bringing with it the heavily debated discussion on popular cable media outlets and online forums about whether eSports is actually a real sport, and can it ever reach mainstream popularity, in the United States, in particular, to compete with the big three sports leagues (NFL, NBA, and MLB).

Although you will find many media outlets and casual observers arguing on both sides of whether or not eSports participants classify as athletes, you will struggle to find an aspiring professional eSports gamer who doesn’t put in an absolutely incredible amount of hours into refining their skills. In fact, we have seen an average training regimen for amateur and professional anywhere from a minimum of 50-80 hours per week, and even these numbers can be seen as conservative for those who are immersed in the eSports lifestyle. In our opinion, eSports professional gamers are 100% professional athletes. 

In the world of traditional sports and athletics, we have all heard stories of athletes who have an insane amount of work ethic and dedication to excel at a single sport. However, top eSports athletes and teams live in an online world where literally the competition never sleeps, and every hour you are away from the computer or tv monitor, there is an aspiring young gamer looking to dethrone the champ. There are many stories of top eSports athletes only getting on average 3-4 hours of sleep a night, and spending nearly every waking minute in front of a computer screen, including meals. Many of the elite eSports teams train all day at a dedicated training facility. Usually, these are a corporate-sponsored office space that allows them to compete against each other and also watch the film of previous matches while discussing game strategy. The training regimen for eSports athletes, both amateur and professional is intense, and in many cases enough to surpass even the most dedicated traditional sports athletes.

eSports in the Olympics

If we haven’t convinced you by now the eSports is actually a sport, maybe this will help. The Paris 2024 Olympics Committee is seriously considering adding eSports to the lineup of sports in the Summer Olympic Games. Yes, you heard that right. eSports may be on its way into the Olympics! In Paris, it’s unlikely that eSports will be an actual competitive sanctioned event in the Olympics. We’re still a ways away from that, mostly due to the fact that there is no international governing board for eSports. For example, soccer has FIFA and gymnastics has the International Gymnastics Federation. eSports doesn’t have anything even close to this yet, but don’t expect that to last too much longer. As eSports gains more and more popularity, a governing body is bound to be formed. 

eSports is a business

So the final thing you should know about eSports is that it is a business. And it’s just beginning to take-off. In 2017, eSports total revenue grew to a whopping $655 million. And as we’ve stated before, that number is only expected to grow. By 2020, total revenue for eSports is expected to hit $1.5 billion! This growth is mainly being driven by the insane numbers of new eSports enthusiasts, which peaked at 143 million in 2017. And this number is also growing rapidly as more and more spectators become absorbed with eSports.

But you’re probably wondering how does eSports make money? 

How does eSports make money?

Similar to teams in traditional sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB,  eSports teams are able to make money from activities including:

  • Live event ticket sales
  • Team branded merchandise and team website monetization
  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Advertising
  • Selling media rights to broadcast live esports events

Currently, it is believed that most eSports league revenues are generated from directly from sponsorships, which can ultimately cause eSports leagues to have a significant dependence on corporate sponsors to continue to operate. Unlike traditional major sports leagues, most eSports teams do not own their own stadiums or event venues, so they aren’t able to capture a significant portion of ticket sales revenues or receiving stadium naming rights sponsorships. Also, since many of the most popular leagues are owned and operated by the game manufacturers themselves, independent eSports teams traditionally have limited negotiating influence on revenue and profit sharing.

Careers in eSports

Another facet of eSports turning into a booming business is the creation of jobs and new careers. Becoming a professional video gamer is now an actual career. Pro gamers are professional athletes and are not only earning the big bucks in terms of salaries and prize earnings, but they are also benefitting from their newfound stardom. Pro gamers now are able to earn major sponsorship and advertising deals because of all the supporters they have amassed. Children and young adults all over the world are aspiring to turn their hobby of playing video games into a legitimate, well-paying career. But getting to the elite ranks of eSports is not a simple task. In fact, very few gamers actually have what it takes to become professional. So if you or someone you know is considering a career as a pro gamer, make sure to check out our post on how to become a pro eSports gamer in 8 steps.

In addition, there are also a ton of other career paths and jobs that eSports has created outside of being a gamer. There are plenty of options for you to find a job within eSports even if you don’t play video games. These jobs include AV technicians, event planners, marketing managers, networking engineers, announcers, and much more. If you want to learn more about how to find other career opportunities in eSports, check out our article on the 10 best tips to get a job in eSports.

eSports gambling

Another rising facet of the eSports business is gambling. As eSports has continued to grow over the past few years, the gambling industry has kept a close eye. Betting on eSports has been quite popular in Europe for some time now, with major gambling websites allowing various types of eSports gambling from match betting to casino-style games. And most recently in the United States, the US Supreme Court struck down a 26-year-old law, known as PAPSA, that prohibited several significant forms of sports gambling in all but four statesThis major Supreme Court decision was a big win for sports gambling as it unlocked states’ rights in establishing their sports-betting laws. Some states have already quickly legalized it, and many more states will follow suit shortly, thus opening up the doors for eSports gambling to take off in the United States like wildfire. We fully expect eSports gambling to become a full-fledged phenomenon as the industry continues to grow over the next few years. If you’re interested in trying your hand, make sure to read our 8 tips before making an eSports bet.

With booming business comes more regulation

It’s probably not a surprise that with an exponential increase in business and revenue, comes increased regulation. And that’s precisely what is happening in some countries in regards to eSports. Some governments and governing bodies are beginning to crack down on competitive gaming, which could be a major blow to the industry. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in early 2018 that they were officially classifying gaming addiction as an official mental health disorder. And some countries have followed suit. For example, in South Korea, gaming competition is so intense, that the government is actively trying to classify gaming as a public health risk. They’ve already placed a law that bans children under 16 from accessing online games between midnight at 6 am! And unfortunately for the eSports industry, this law has caused the Korean gaming market to shrink by roughly $1.09 billion (according to the Korea Economic Research Institute). That’s a crazy amount of money!

While we don’t know exactly what further types of regulation and the effects it will have on eSports, we do expect more to come as the industry continues to proliferate. However, while regulation might be able to slow down the growth ever so slightly, it’s highly unlikely that it will be able to take down the roaring beast that is eSports.

Now you know the answer to the question of what is eSports!

By now, you should hopefully be much more educated and versed in the world of eSports then you were before reading this article. We’ve covered quite a bit, but if there’s one thing to take away, it’s that eSports is the organized, competitive play of video games for spectators. Okay, and one other thing: the eSports industry is just on the beginning fringes of what it will become in the very near future. Within the next ten years, more and more eSports pro gamers will be household names, and gaming championships will be just as popular as the Super Bowl or the World Cup. Plus, by 2020, eSports will be one of the biggest economic industries with over 1.5 billion in total revenue. Get your popcorn ready folks, because it’s going to be a wild ride!

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