Electronic sports (also known as e-sports) have been a big deal in other countries for a long time, especially in Asian countries like South Korea. Ever since the release of the first StarCraft game in 1998, e-sports have been slowly picking up steam in various countries due to the high level of complex tasks and thoughts that need to occur simultaneously. While they may just seem like video games to your average viewer, the sheer amount of money and prestige these games can garner in countries like South Korea go to show that there is much more to this phenomenon than simply a bunch of people playing computer games.
In South Korea, professional gamers are treated like professional athletes are treated here in America. They are showered with sponsorships, money, and frequently date actresses and models. Now, that sort of occurrence may happen in the United States. There are now more people watching e-sports than there are watching basketball or baseball. Not only that, ESPN has officially joined the e-sports craze; it is publishing its first e-sports magazine issue this month and is also already partnering with game makers so that it can stream professional tournaments online. Amazon owns a game-streaming service called Twitch that is wildly growing in popularity and Youtube just announced the launch of its own video game channel.
With so many major corporations putting so much money behind e-sports, it’s only a matter of time before they begin to truly pick up in the States. However, while things might be pushing in that direction, there is obviously a counter movement to qualifying video games as a sport. Some people including the president of ESPN, John Skipper, feel as though e-sports are more of a competition than a sport, like chess or checkers. Regardless of the official view on the subject, it would be completely incorrect to write off e-sports as a fad. They seem as though they’re here to stay and to those wanting to profit off of them, now’s the time to get involved.
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