Electronic sports, or eSports are also variously known as competitive gaming, professional gaming, or pro gaming. This is a form of competition that is enabled by electronic means, and the game contest is mediated by human-computer interfaces. In practical terms, eSports is enjoyed in the form of organized, multiplayer computer game competitions between professional players.
An Evolving Activity
In terms of gaming genre, these professionally played games are mostly either real-time strategy games, fighting games, first-person shooter adventures or multiplayer online battle arena games, which are generally called MOBA games. The most popular and highly competitive tournaments available currently for participation, spectating and wagering are the International, the Battle.net World Championship Series, the Evolution Championship Series, the League of Legends World Championship, the Smite World Championship, and the Intel Extreme Masters. All these tournaments demonstrate the rising importance and acceptance of eSports by enabling live competition broadcasts, substantial prize money, and in conjunction with a growing host of sponsors, salaries for the competitors.
eSports are a derivative of the old video game culture. When first introduced and popularised, the original video games were fairly quickly organised into competitions and tournaments where players could compete against each other and test the skills they had developed. Although in the beginning these competitions, which included both online and offline play, were amateur games, between the years 2000 and 2010, this form of competition saw an almost unprecedented growth in popularity.
Since around 2010, eSports has been regarded as an actual sport. There are now numerous professional competitions and the surging viewership means that the sport can support many professional players and teams. The selection of game is still key, but many of the gaming development giants build specific features into their new releases to facilitate game play in these competitions, and the video, or computer games released since 2010 have taken the top spot in terms of overall revenue generated by an entertainment medium.
Popular eSports Betting Options
When it comes to the actual games that comprise the professional competition that has become the eSports label, the first games that deserve mention are the multiplayer online battle arena games of Dota 2 and League of Legends. These were ground-breaking in terms of eSports growth. This was quickly followed by the unbelievably popular first person shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. There is now an entire swathe of top games that are avidly supported, played, watched, and most importantly wagered on. These latest games, all of which support a full professional circuit include Smite, Call of Duty, StarCraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch.
eSports professionals are referred to as cyberathletes, and just like all athletes, can be wagered upon by punters. 71.5 million people worldwide watched eSports in 2013 alone, and this number has grown significantly of late thanks to online streaming media platforms such as Twitch.tv. that has made eSports competitions much more accessible.
The global eSports market generated some US $325 million of revenue in 2015. This appears to have been broadly exceeded in 2016 with anticipated revenue of $493 million. The viewership in 2015 was 226 million people, which has naturally generated a huge eSports betting sites market too. Most reputable sports books are beginning to carry eSports as a wagering option, and with the projected growth of this sport, and the proliferation of cyberathletes, it can be anticipated that this sport is only going to grow in every regard.