There has never been a better time to enter the world of eSports. While the first-ever professional video game tournament may have taken place way back in 1972, when Stanford University students pitted their best gamers against each other in a few rounds of the arcade classic Space Wars, the industry has evolved considerably since then. Last year the global eSports market was valued at over $600 million, according to Statista, with that number set to more than double in the next few years alone.
Gaming tournaments, with globally-recognized international teams playing in stadiums to audiences of thousands, have now become commonplace, with some of the biggest growth regions being in China, the US and Scandinavia. Many of the teams, whose games of choice include classics such as Call of Duty and less mainstream games like the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) platform Smite, have garnered sponsorships worth millions of dollars, and are celebrities in their own right. It’s now an integral part of video game culture, and developers are now gearing significant resources towards helping nurture this thriving industry. Here’s why you should get a slice of the action, and join the world of eSports professional video gaming today.
Big Games, Big Money
The eSports industry is above all, a lot of fun. It’s not hard to see why millions of people find a heart-racing group deathmatch on Call of Duty more entertaining to watch than a game of football, and it shows how culture has changed and developed in the digital age. Companies are no longer ignoring the vast potential of eSports and are now helping further legitimize the industry by throwing the weight behind the most highly ranked teams of players.
Many of the most successful eSports teams are now household names, with professional outfits like Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP), ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters now being followed by millions around the world and racking up hundreds of thousands of views per video on YouTube. If you’re good at your game, you can expect to pick up a lucrative sponsorship deal from one of the many big name companies that are actively courting the best players. Just like any other major league sports team, the most powerful brands on Earth have gotten in on the action.
The largest eSports championship globally, the League of Legends World Championship, is itself sponsored by one of the largest companies globally, Coca-Cola. Similarly, technology giant Intel has sponsored the longest-running eSports tournament, Electronic Sports League, since 2006, while energy drink titans Red Bull fittingly sponsor too many eSports outfits to count. A sign of the growing importance of eSports is that one of the biggest online casinos in the world, Betway, now sponsors members of the hugely popular NiP, as well as ESL One and ESL Pro League. Even sports brands traditionally associated with physical sports have gotten in on the action, with sneaker giant Adidas now sponsoring Team Vitality, one of Europe’s most promising teams, and the basketball team Miami Heat itself sponsoring an eSports team known as Misfits.
In recent months totally different kinds of companies have now recognize the value of eSports, with the European manufacturing giants Airbus and Audi each themselves throwing millions of dollars behind different gaming teams this year. It’s clear that we’re on the cusp of something big, and playing eSports now could end up being the most lucrative decision you’ll ever make.
Accessible For Everyone
The beauty of eSports is that anyone can become a champion. Rather than being groomed your entire life to enter the NFL, you can make it to the top of the industry just by practising in your own time. You can play many of the biggest games, like the aforementioned Smite, completely for free and there’s a constantly rotating roster of amateur tournaments that newbies can enter to hone their skills and network with the right people.
Many professional eSports gamers are now millionaires in their own right, with massive followings and fat paychecks earned simply by playing games that they love. Esports is clearly about to blow up to become one of the biggest entertainment industries on the planet, so get involved while you can. Game on!