I remember back in the day when I got my first PC. It was around 2006 and, although I might not be one of the original mass of people that had PCs even further back, I quickly learned how it works and what I can do on it. I got 2 games with it and it was a completely new world for me. Unfortunately, Internet access wasn’t exactly the best; Dial-Up is all I could muster back then.
A couple of my friends told me about competitive tournaments in DotA, Counter Strike, Starcraft, and a couple of other games, but I just had no way of knowing that or watching it. It would be a couple of years before faster Internet became available and I, too, tuned in to the show.
It was again a world anew; something completely unique and never before seen (at least in my eyes). So yeah, naturally when LoL came out, I wanted to achieve worldwide success (a teenager thinking about becoming World Champion, ha!)
And look at where we are now! eSports is in its best years since the inception of eSports playing for professional purposes. Teams now have fully-fledged sponsorships and tournaments have massive prizes. By all definitions, the eSports of today is on par with real life, physical sports. eSports culmination has been happening for quite some time; it didn’t just get to this point overnight. Let’s take a closer look at how all of this unfolded:
The Road to Glory
eSports started small with controlled ambition. What I mean by this is that, one wrong step could have meant the end of professional gaming. It was a fragile and volatile time; games were still something that others considered worthless and dangerous. Remember the whole fiasco around Grand Theft Auto and how it would push kids to do terrible things? Yeah, competitively playing Counter Strike and shooting virtual guns at others wasn’t exactly something that people were keen on.
Nonetheless, companies and players alike kept pushing forwards. Slowly, and surely, a new age involving eSports and eSports betting (betting has recently been allowed in the United States as well) would arise. All sports can be bet on; soccer, basketball, tennis, even rowing. So why shouldn’t eSports be a part of that too? This wasn’t the main issue though – the main portion of the people who didn’t watch or play games never took eSports seriously. Sitting at a computer, not doing any physical activity isn’t a sport. Or so they thought.
As with all things, a strong and powerful action gives birth to an equal reaction. And so, all the criticism and comments towards eSports and players has had an effect on how popular eSports is. Over time, eSports would grow into a global phenomenon; one that non-gaming people couldn’t ignore anymore.
With the birth of modern MOBAs and improved gameplay for the most competitive games came more and more exotic tournaments. Prize pools started to increase dramatically and the overall quality of gameplay, stream, enjoyment, information, camerawork, and everything in between became better.
This was the breaking point. Once eSports crossed this threshold, there was no going back. And this is where the current age kicks in.
The Summit and eSports Culmination
Currently, eSports is at the highest peak of the gaming mountain. It is on par with modern physical sports, has crazy prizes and prize pools, professional teams, professional broadcasters, interviewers… Hell, tournaments are organized in stadiums! If that doesn’t scream real sport I don’t know what does.
Anyhow, the whole talk about eSports culmination currently ends here. We don’t know what the future will hold but as of right now, it’s looking very bright.
And Epic Games is pretty serious with their plan – it’s already started with the Fortnite Summer Skirmish; the first tournament of many in the Fortnite scene.
In the end, what I have to say is this: eSports had to go through some tough times to reach the point where it’s at now. A lot of skepticism and debate went into the progress and improvements of competitive play for all games, but I think we’re finally at the point where everyone is most comfortable. Because of this, I have no doubt that the quality-of-life regarding eSports tournaments and organizations will continue getting better and better as time goes by. We just have to wait and see!