When you think of high profile titles such as Call of Duty and Dota 2, you can’t hide from the fact that eSports is a major factor in their success. Competitive gaming at its best, with thousands, sometimes millions of pounds and dollars being awarded to the winners of illustrious tournaments. eSports is growing all the time, becoming one of the best competitions in the world.
You only have to look at huge gaming events such as Insomnia and EGX to see how big of a presence eSports on the gaming community, with thousands of gamers, both casual and hardcore, turning up to see the best players in action. Of course, eSports has been present now for many years, but only in the last five years or so has it really come to the fore. With high profile Call of Duty, Dota 2 and League of Legend tournaments hosted on a regular basis, it is certainly a good time to invest in eSport competition.
There are many platforms for eSport competition too, such as Major League Gaming. These guys hire professional gamers on salaries, taking them around the world to compete for gaming’s biggest prizes. For some players, gaming is actually their full time job, making sure they are honing their skills seven days a week to get the edge in the next eSports competition. Have a look at following image I found, courtesy of eSports Earnings, to really understand the attraction eSports has.
As you can see, some of the prize funding associated with the biggest eSports events is absolutely phenomenal. $10.9 million just to win a few games on Dota 2? Yes please! Unfortunately, my gaming skills will very likely mean I can never get to that level. However, for some, that staggering prize fund is a realistic target for them and their team.
The huge prize funding has to come from somewhere though, right? Of course. Most eSport events are broadcast online and even on TV in some countries, with millions tuning in to watch. The Dota 2 International Championship and the League of Legends Championship Series Finals in Korea were both covered by ESPN. Unbelievable, right? ESPN, one of the biggest sports broadcasters in the world. The fact that eSports has a major part in ESPN’s present and future plans is something that can only benefit the sport going forward, especially in terms of funding. Of course, a lot of eSport tournaments are also streamed live via the hugely popular streaming platform Twitch. It was reported that 2014 saw the streaming platform reach 100,000,000 unique viewers, with an impressive 83% of viewers streaming in to watch Dota 2 in some capacity. Money generated from the likes of ESPN, Twitch and big sponsors like Coca Cola play a huge part in the massive prize funds that I mentioned earlier. Plus, eSports is fast becoming one of the most viewed sports in the world. You know, that helps!
The only slight negative is the fact that majority of eSport events seem to come from titles such as Call of Duty (Activision) and Dota 2 (Valve). Personally, I would like to see more games come into the eSports scene. Let’s take FIFA for example. Currently it has a fantastic worldwide tournament, the FIFA Interactive World Cup. Thousands of the players from around the world battle it out to be crowned the best FIFA player in the world, with a nice handsome cheque going to the winner. It’s great, but FIFA should and could have a bigger presence. Why not have a Pro Clubs eSports tournament, or maybe an Ultimate Team eSports tournament? The latter is insanely popular, so surely it makes some sort of sense. Above all though, I think developers/publisher need to grasp the bull by its horns and provide gamers with the ultimate multiplayer experience. This would entice more people to get playing and therefore breed more competitive gamers, having a knock-on effect in terms of eSport companies stepping up and investing.
At the start of this article I mentioned eSports tournaments being held at EGX, with some big crowds, names and prizes all in attendance. Well, I am delighted to announce that I will be working with the fantastic people at Argos to cover the eSports tournaments at EGX from 24th – 27th September.While I’m there, I shall be observing and reporting on how the tournaments are structured, what titles are being focused on and also getting some feedback on what other games the community would like to see at future eSports events. It is a project that I am very excited about and I look forward to furthering my understanding of eSports in September.
Not only that, Argos have also provided us with a Batman Arkham Knight PlayStation 4 bundle to giveaway to one lucky winner! Details and how to enter can be found here.