What appeared to be a mere speck in the horizon has gradually turned out to be making huge waves that ripple all over the world, affecting entertainment and tech industries alike.
What are we talking about? eSports. Eventually, the future of eSports and what it can bring to mankind.
It’s quite funny how gaming started out as a pastime that catered to the solitary being. The main picture that goes into the minds of people when they hear “computer gaming” in the earliest times was that of an individual sitting hunched over in front of his beige CRT monitor in the dark. Nowadays, gaming is social, widely accepted and celebrated.
Gaming has become mainstream, thanks to eSports
If you give pause and really think about it, eSports is still a relatively young industry. The explosiveness of the popularity as a whole in just a few years has put the world into a spotlight. Yes, it’s a wonderful platform right now, but what’s next? People are left wanting for more after seeing just how fun it is and how it has the potential to grow into an industrial juggernaut.
What we now know is that DOTA (and MOBAs, in general), Hearthstone, League of Legends, CS:GO, Starcraft II and Rocket League is here to stay. We know that there are big-name tournaments happening all over the world, and that there are millions of dollars at stake. We know that millions of people are either attending the event, watching it on Twitch, YouTube or via international cable, and they are rooting for their personal favorites. The success of eSports has made it a big business for sponsors, the game developers and the players themselves.
Is the future of eSport bright? Let’s take a look at the following aspects that are most likely to change in time.
People are starting to realize that playing their favorite games all day long can be a worthwhile endeavor. Pro gamers do it- why can’t they? They earn a sizable income, have all these great sponsors and get the latest tech gadgets and equipment just by being good at eSports. Let’s not forget the fact that prize pools are getting significantly bigger and better every year, with more and more companies throwing money at such a progressive form of sport.
This is great for players who are aiming to win because the larger the prize money, the more chances they will get some of that money and turn legit pro. Organizations that are housing pro players provide their employees living wages, a house and a bed to sleep in. Lets not forget that universities are beginning to offer esports scholarships as well. It eases the pressure of actually aiming to win because you’ve got your basic living expenses covered. It’s not a do-or-die situation where if you lose, you go home and earn zero.
eSports in the future will have companies paying their pro players, which in turn provides a depth of competitiveness to the electronic sport. A higher level of competition equals better eSports as a whole. You’d certainly want to play hard because the money is good and there are millions of people watching. Much like sports, or the Olympics.
More Prize Money
We’ve talked about this before- big-name companies are starting to realize the potential of eSports and are contributing towards its proliferation. The good thing about this aspect is that the future is bright! It will only get bigger and better as eSports explodes into the scene.
Want a solid example? Take a look at game company Valve. Ever since the giant launched their own DOTA 2 world tournament a few years back, the prize money has taken leaps and bounds. They continually achieve a record each year for hosting the biggest prize pool in the eSports industry. Remember the first time the international DOTA tournament was held in 2011? The prize money was a cool $1.6 million, divided into the 4 top teams. Then, during the 2013 Valve tournament, the powers that be thought about making the prize pool bigger, which only made eSports better.
Valve created the Interactive Compendium, a chart that listed the playing team, its members and the heroes they regularly play. It was sort of a book that sold well. 25 percent of each Interactive Compendium sold was then added in the prize pool for the current tournament. In 2013, Valve announced to the amazed players and public that the prize pool would be at $2.8 million! They didn’t stop there. Valve added the ability to buy and add points to the Compendium, 25 percent of which was added to the prize pool. The record was broken again for that year, at $10.9 million. Think it wouldn’t get any higher? Think again- the 2014 international DOTA 2 tournament astonished the world when it held up a $20.7 million prize pool!
We know about DOTA, DOTA 2, Counter-Strike GO, Starcraft and League of Legends. The recent addition of Hearthstone, a collectible card game and Rocket League, a soccer-type game played with racecars prove that there’s still room for more innovative, exciting games. The current list has some renowned tournaments being held all over the globe. Millions of players attend the event, and many more watch it on the media channels.
Now think about how many games are being produced by both AAA companies and indie games each year. DOTA was originally a “modification” that evolved on its own. Same goes for Counter-Strike. As long as there’s competition, excellent gameplay and viewers, games can and will enter the list of eSports tournaments.
Is eSports Headed For The Olympics?
The possibility is likely and it’s exciting. It’s also real- the International Federation of eSports has already applied for recognition through the International Olympic Committee. In response, the Committee has handed the International Federation of eSports a list of requirements if they want to be included in the Olympic games. Competitive gaming is here, and it’s about to get recognized in the largest sport competition in the world!
Let’s get back to the earth a bit. Preparing the requirements and the needed reviews will take time. It will take months before any real development takes place. But the step has been taken. Just keep an eye or an ear out for the announcement of eSports in the Olympics in the near future!
The Future of the eSports Industry
There’s a documentary called All Work All Play, which outlines how the world of eSports has been introduced globally. The final note is that it’s still going strong and has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
At any high-profile tournament, you see gleaming gaming rigs and state-of-the-art gaming equipment. The venue is huge, featuring a huge jumbo-tron like screen for seeing the players and of course, the unfolding play. You’ll see recognizable banners from huge companies, and the players themselves are bedecked with brand logos from their sponsors. Imagine NASCAR drivers, and you’ll have a good idea of how awesome and professional they look. Nothing is left to chance- the games are broadcast online, on national TV and on gaming sites such as Twitch, YouTube, etc.
Here, you’ll get an idea of just how massive this industry has become ever since its inception a few years ago. eSports is growing, and the number of viewers will reach up to 150 million by the year 2017.
But how did the spark happen? Some will say that the boom came from the West. Interest has picked up in the region, and the viewers themselves are warming up to the idea of gaming as a competitive, exciting sport which is similar to that of professional sports. Though most locations for the international tournaments are mainly held in the United States, in Europe and South Korea, it’s not impossible for game locations to shift to other places such as Mexico, China or the Philippines. These are huge potential viewers, after all.
As bright as the future of eSports is, it’s still not the brightest. There’s still potential for eSports to become even better. Thanks to technology and where gaming tech is headed, the future players may not need peripherals such as a mouse, a keyboard or a gamepad at all. Stunning transformations will come up- some we’d expect, while other innovations will leave us completely awestruck.
Modern eSports has only been a legitimate thing for around 20 years or so or from the mid to late 1990s. Compare that to professional sports that are 80 or more years old, and eSports is a relatively new comer. Think about how these sports have adapted major changes as they went along. Whatever the changes, the core of the game and rules stay the same. eSports is unique because it’s largely dependent on the innovations of technology. In just a span of one year, players could be playing through VR headsets, making plays using just the motions of their hand. The mouse and the keyboard could become obsolete. Newer and better gaming equipment will be introduced, which makes the game faster, more fun and more reactive.
Proof That Companies Think eSports is the Future
Big name brands and companies you’ve never thought of involving themselves with the world of eSports have started investing in this future sport. Sure, you’ve got the usual tech brands such as Asus, Microsoft, Razer and other independent companies having their own base of players and advertisement platforms, but would you believe some high-profile people have taken to owning professional teams and players?
The NBA is a global phenomenon that’s massively popular. The CEOs, the movers and the shakers have agreed on one thing- eSports will one day become as popular as any professional sport being played on national TV. Jonas Jerebko, a player in the Boston Celtics bought Team Renegade, a group of Aussies who made the choice to start becoming professional gamers instead of living a blue collar life. Remember the great Magic Johnson? He has invested in an eSport team. The same went for the Washington Wizards (an NBA team) and the owner of the Golden State Warriors (another NBA team). The Philadelphia 76ers announced that they would buy out two notable teams called Apex and Dignitas. Rick Fox, a former Los Angeles Lakers player even began his dream of making a mark into the world of eSports. With his fame and wealth he has started his own game franchise called the Echo Fox, with plans of dipping his toes into games such as Super Smash Brothers, CS:GO, Overwatch and League of Legends.
Europe has been doing the same years ahead of their US counterparts. Manchester United signed up Kieran Brown as a FIFA gamer to represent them on the eSports forefront. Their sport rivals West Ham United did the same and signed up Sean Allen as a competitive FIFA player. Teams Valencia, FC Shalke, VFL Wolfsburg and Ajax have acquired talents of their own.
Who would have thought this was possible? It’s like the jocks meet up with the geeks. But underneath all that is a fact stating that eSports is a legitimate industry booming upwards. eSports has become a market for about 250 million viewers from all over the globe. The people in the West are thinking that eSports could be the next big thing after professional sports.
Imagine all of that happening within just a span of 5 years. A good year of tech breakthroughs can easily change how professional players are playing their favorite eSport game. The viewership can shift on to wider platforms that can reach a whole new audience. You may be able to see a match between two Starcraft tournament players on Netflix, on your local cable TV or maybe even on a dedicated channel. The advancements of VR can make you feel like you’re a part of the action. If you’re a professional player, you can have a steady base of income trickling in. You won’t have to work a 9 to 5 job just to make ends meet. You could be living your dream job and realizing your potential.
These are just some of the things that can definitely happen if you think about the future of eSports. Who knows? We may discover a new type of technology, a new kind of immersive platform or a whole new way to play games. The future is bright and full of potential. We all can conclude that eSports is poised to make a big splash on a global scale.