Thrills of gaming and eSports

Most of us have played video games. If not Halo, maybe Pokemon, or even Tetris orPac-Man. But now it’s a new era, a new world. Welcome to the world of gaming. An environment in which the weak perish, and the strongest overcome. This is the world of eSports.

eSports is a general term for any type of professional or competitive gaming. 45 years ago the first official eSports event took place on the 19th of October, 1972. The game that started it all was Space Invaders. At that time, it was more of an informal gathering than a global convention for gamers. It was just a few people who wanted to test their skills against other players. But, as producers released more games, and broadband internet globalized a player vs player setting, the eSports industry flourished. What started as a small hobby for a few gamers has transformed into a competitive career and lifestyle. eSports has now grown into a billion dollar industry. A game like Street Fighter, for example, started as a casual arcade game and has evolved into an eSport which professional gamers dedicate their careers. However, eSports are not limited to the one-on-one fighting genre. It consists of many different types of games, such as Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas known as MOBAs, Shooters, and Real Time Strategy games.

A MOBA is a game where players control a character, and each team must work together to destroy the opposing team’s base while defending their own. A first person shooter is where a squad of players use weapons, usually guns, to eliminate the opposing team or complete a specific objective. Real Time Strategies, on the other hand, are games where a player creates an entire army, often from only a small amount of resources, to eventually overwhelm the enemy opponent. These are only a couple of the mainstream genres that gather players and viewers worldwide.

Not only does eSports have a large amount of diverse game types, but it also has a large and diverse viewer base. For example, the League of Legends world championship in 2014 acquired over 32 millions viewers in total. That’s more that the NBA finals which had 15.5 million viewers and the World cup series, which had 26.5 million American viewers.. This alone shows the growing popularity of eSports and its prominence in many people’s daily lives.

Video games have been catching the attention of people all over the world. What was originally new is already one of the biggest sources of entertainment to this day. As more games were being created, people had an inclination to watch professional gamers and world record holders play their respective games. This idea of watching people play video games led to eSports becoming a spectator sport. A spectator sport is when an individual watches other people play while not actually playing themselves. A study has shown that 40% of all E-sports fans don’t actually play the game that they are watching.

Although gaming and competitive gaming have grown, there is still criticism about it being classified as a “sport”. Furthermore, people claim that playing a video game does not require the same amount of physical exertion as a physical sport, which is true. In the extreme, people might even classify gaming as a hobby for laziness. However, professional gamers put as much time and practice into the game as professional athletes, maybe even more. Just like any athlete, professional gamers must put almost half the day into practicing the game. In terms of time alone, the average professional gamer practices more than the average physical athlete. The effort and time a professional gamer puts into that particular game changes the whole perspective of eSports. Recently, the U.S government classified eSports as a professional sport that hosts professional athletes. The U.S government now issues visas to foreign players to compete in the U.S. Although the U.S recently recognized eSports, South Korea has long been a pioneer of the eSports industry. The Korean eSports Association was approved by the Ministry of Culture and founded in 2000. The association has been hosting and broadcasting eSports alongside the entertainment enterprises that have created all of the notable games we previously mentioned.

eSports is an industry risen from the hobbies of gaming. However, the real question now is where can the industry go in the future. Will it continue to rise, or is it coming to an end? The exponential growth of technology will only continue to fuel the production of new games and game designs. In the coming decades, we will very likely see what was only a figure of imagination in the past. Virtual reality, for example is already in the commercial stage with the creation of the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift currently only allows for single player virtual reality and features a 107 degrees field of vision. There are racing, shooting, simulator, and even horror virtual reality games. Of this accumulation of genres, virtual reality will continue to spread and manifest itself in all genres. Furthermore, the perfection of multiplayer virtual reality games will surely seize the gaming industry after its development.

If you’re a professional gamer with a team, then you might live in a house with your teammates to build a better connection and stronger communication with that team. You may sit at your desk and practice playing the game for hours on end. Players or teams might practice for 10 or more hours a day. When it’s time to eat, you would probably eat takeout, and you would likely sit with the rest of your team and discuss game strategy and talk to your coach about your previous games. Professional athletes watch film of themselves so they can better improve and or watch other teams to find a sense of strategy they like to use. Typically when they are finished they would go back to playing for the rest of the day until they eventually get tired and go to sleep. The next day, they would do a similar routine to be best prepared for their tournaments or matches. Some pro gamers say they might only get about 4 hours of sleep and then have to start a full day of practice. Because of a lot of the practice and time these gamers but into their games, competitive gaming can be classified as a “sport.” They may not be lifting or using lots of physical force to play the game, but they are using a lot of mental power and improving their reflexes and skills on the computer. This after years of the same routine can get very stressful for anyone. But a lot of the time and effort they put into that game can be worth it, with 1st place prizes being up to millions of dollars. eSports is no easy task but the joy of gaming creates a great competitive drive.

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