Esports: From a Casual Hobby to a Global Tournament

Even though playing video games as a casual hobby is fun, spending too much time on them is considered a waste of time. However, it’s a source of fortune for professional esports players.

Lots of people around the world enjoy sports. Its competitive nature has the potential to captivate its viewers. A great deal of money is devoted to hosting sports tournaments, championships, world cups, and even Olympic games. Sports have traditionally been limited to physical competitions. However, there is also esports, solely limited to the digital realm. 


The Nature of Esports

Esports are basically video games that are played in a highly organized setting. And just like any other sports, they have a massive amount of fanbase, fierce contestants, captivating championships, and plenty of prizes. Esports, also known as electronic sports, are computer-based competitive games that are played by professionals for spectators. Even though they can be a single-player competition, they are predominately team-based games.

Just like conventional sports functions, esports also involves teams that play against each other in esports championships. Also just like conventional sports, Esports gamers adore the rivalry with their opponents, they strive to be the best at their respective games, and they continuously battle for the top ranking in their line of games. The only difference with traditional sports is that the battle is conducted through video games. 

Unlike conventional sports, esports is economical. It doesn’t require expensive infrastructures and the presence of teammates at tournament arenas. They only require players to have gaming equipment (computer or phone), an installed game, and the internet. Moreover, players at any location in the world can team up to battle their opponents just right from where they are.


Why Is Esports Becoming More Appealing?

Dating back to 1972, to the first esports competition of the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics, battled among five students at Stanford University, the winner was awarded a one-year membership of the Rolling Stone magazine. Fast forward to 1997, when 2000 contestants competed in Quake’s Red Annihilation online tournament. The winner was awarded a red Ferrari 328 automobile, which was a big deal at the time. Since then, the prizes for esports winners have been increasing nonstop. 

These days, esports gamers can win even more prize money than the most prestigious conventional sports. In the International DotA2 Championship of 2019, 16 teams met at the online battle arena of the game DotA2. The championship generated $33 million, which was the largest prize pool in esports history, with the final winner receiving 45.5 percent of the total amount. This is what makes esports more appealing than any other sport. An esports professional gamer can make a fortune in just one tournament. 

Aside from the appealing amount of prizes, esports has an Esports Awards program that has been running since 2016. The program has been giving recognition awards to esports personalities in several categories, that include players, teams, developers, content creators, coaches, broadcasting teams, hosts, producers, journalists, and so on.


Esports Is for Everyone

Anyone with internet access can play Esports for fun regardless of location, gender, race, status, and age. Anyone from any corner of the world with internet access can also watch esports events. However, becoming a professional esports gamer requires a lot of work. Just like any conventional sports, it takes a dedication of several hours of training on video games every day with the help of esports coaches.

Furthermore, as esports players are becoming more competitive and skillful, it appears that intensive training may be required. In 2021, Japan announced the launch of the first Esports Gym in Tokyo. It is the world’s first esports facility to provide a space for esports training. The gym provides a monthly membership along with fully equipped gaming computer sets. Besides, people can also subscribe to take lessons from professional gamers to upgrade their gaming skills. In the coming years, esports gyms are expected to spread to other locations of the world as well.

On the downside, experts are raising their concerns about full-time esports professionals. According to the research published by The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in 2019, esports players are more prone to getting neck, back, and upper extremity musculoskeletal injuries due to the sedentary nature of the sport and its accompanying poor posture. The study also highlighted that these sportspersons may also experience metabolic issues due to the LED computer monitors, as well as mental issues including gaming addiction and social behavior abnormalities. The researchers suggested that osteopathic doctors should play a critical role in improving the health and minimizing the injuries of esports professional gamers.


Trends in Esports

Even though professional gaming is not yet officially recognized as a sport, there is still a lot of buzz about it. It has managed to captivate millions of fans and audiences. It also has its own well-known sportspeople, popular tournaments, and award programs. It also has rising prominence on a worldwide scale.

At first, playing video games was nothing more than a hobby. However, since the 1990s, they have transitioned to a professional sport and have been rapidly growing year after year in revenue generation and in the number of players and spectators. According to the Research and Markets reports, the global esports market size is expected to reach $12,494.3 million by 2030, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent from 2022 to 2030. 

The number of audiences for esports is already higher than that of traditional sports that have survived for many years. According to newzoo report, the global number of esports enthusiasts will increase to 318 million by 2025, with a CAGR of more than 8.1 percent from 2020 to 2025. In 2025, the total number of audiences is expected to surpass 640 million. This sounds like a lucrative opportunity for the giant sports corporations. 

If these numbers keep on rising, there is no doubt that esports will be one of the Olympic games. Eventually, they even might outclass conventional sports. 



Photo: Ann Kosolapova/Shutterstock


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