Despite fairly humble beginnings, esports has revolutionized the world of competitive gaming in recent years and become a truly global phenomenon. Although esports has been gaining considerable steam since the turn of the century, the sector has seen its popularity soar during lockdown. There’s far more to this than millions of people stuck at home looking to occupy their downtime. In fact, esports has experienced year-on-year growth since the advent of high-speed internet and multiplayer gaming.
Accessible to All
One of the biggest reasons behind the popularity of esports is that it is accessible to pretty much everyone. Unlike competitive sports, you don’t need to be a professional athlete in peak physical condition to participate. You also don’t need to commit years of your life to grueling training schedules. Provided you have some proficiency with a gaming PC or console, you can enter the fray. For those serious about progressing in the world of esports, some investment will eventually need to be made. However, gaming PCs are still relatively affordable investments and the best players will have little trouble attracting sponsorship.
Range of Gaming Titles
In the past, esports tournaments were limited when it came to gaming titles. However, this has changed substantially over the past decade or so. The most popular esports titles do tend to fall into one of a handful of genres, including beat ‘em ups, real-time strategy and first-person shooters. Multiplayer online battle arena titles are also incredibly popular. However, within these genres is a significant amount of diversity. Those looking to actively play in tournaments will have no trouble accessing a suitable title, while those happy to sit back and watch the games unfold are also spoiled for choice. Gaming developers are also contributing to this increasing diversity. The biggest development companies are actively considering esports competition when producing new titles.
A True Spectator Sport
Numerous factors are contributing to the rise of esports as a mainstream spectator event. Nowadays, there are organized gaming leagues and established teams, with professional esports players amassing considerable followings. Unlike traditional sporting events, esports tournaments are also far more accessible to both players and audiences. Although live esports events are being hosted in more and more offline venues, audiences can follow the action from anywhere in the world. Live streaming platforms like Twitch are also making it easier than ever for people to follow esports tournaments as they unfold, while the likes of 1337 Pro allow esports enthusiasts to stay up to date with the latest news and developments. By 2024, it is forecast that more than 290 million people will be casual viewers of esports.
A Lucrative Enterprise
For gamers, esports offers very real career prospects. In the 1990s, making a living as a video game player was an impossible dream. Today, it is not only possible, but incredibly lucrative. In 2021, the most prolific esports players were earning in excess of 6.9 million dollars apiece. Even the most casual pro gamer can earn a decent income from streaming. The most successful esports streamers regularly take home more than five thousand dollars per month.
Competitive gaming is showing no sign of slowing down. With esports experiencing considerable growth and revenues continuing to run into the billions, this is an industry that is here to stay. One of the biggest trends to watch out for going forward is the emergence of mobile esports. Although esports were once considered the reserve of PC gaming and high-end consoles, the performance of mobile esports has far exceeded expectations. Certain mobile titles like Garena Free Fire have in fact outperformed PC stalwarts like Dota 2.
There is also likely to be an increased focus on league formats going forward. Although regional play and a league-based approach have become a necessity because of travel restrictions throughout 2020 and 2021, they look set to remain a permanent fixture of the esports infrastructure in the future. The popularity of esports continues to rise with no signs of slowing down anytime soon!