So, you think eSports is simply a bunch of geeks sitting in their bedrooms playing video games? Think again. These people are professional gamers who train hard and, deservedly, get paid well for it. From Los Angeles to South Korea, eSports championship matches are taking place in arenas that on previous days would house anything from NBA games to Beyoncé concerts – in short, if you think eSports is in the little leagues, then you’re a fool.
eSports is Huge
The fact that eSports is being considered for future Olympic Games says that the world has moved beyond the image of men and women throwing javelins and jumping over hurdles when we think of what it truly means to be an athlete. Can you really say that eSports gamers have no physical skills and no mental agility?
True, it will take a lot for eSports to get into such an event where the notion of being in peak physical condition is held to such lofty standards, but remember, this is the same Olympic Games which includes dressage – defined as “The execution by a trained horse of precision movements in response to barely perceptible signals from its rider.” This is also the same Olympic Games which fairly recently included BMX, a sport once thought of as a hobby for unruly teenagers.
If you believe that eSports has no place in the Olympic Games, then let’s see 10 years from now when many of today’s youth is more likely to know an eSports athlete than who’s running in the 400m final. This is a world where Olympics attendance is said to be falling and eSports’ is rising. The math doesn’t seem hard to figure out: eSports could boost an event that has (by and large) stayed the same for close to 125 years.
The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth
Whilst gold medals and opening ceremonies for eSports athletes are still some way off, international recognition certainly isn’t. For players in tournaments for games like the hugely popular DOTA 2 and League of Legends, prize money is in the millions and the matches are streamed live all over the world. When you hear that Facebook is getting in on eSports streaming and rivaling Twitch, it’s time to sit up and take notice. When you read that revenue from eSports is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2020, then your attention should definitely be uninterrupted.
It’s hard not to be moved by the sheer DIY and underdog mentality of eSports players. These are gamers with a chip on their shoulder and who constantly have to prove what they do is justifiable as a career option, but those days are nearing an end. For example, website hosting providers are aiming towards gamers with the idea of building a clan website, and the FaZe clan has teamed up with NFL star Juju Smith-Schuster to promote its own merchandise and clothing range – the group isn’t even in the top 20 teams with the highest overall earnings but is steadily growing in popularity.
eSports, it seems, is quietly yet assuredly taking over the world and maybe, just maybe, inclusion into the Olympic Games is just the beginning of something even bigger.