Electronic sports or esports, a form of sport competition through video games have become increasingly popular in today’s world. It often takes the forms of organized multiplayer video game competitions participated by the professional players either individually or as a team.
It was initiated as a competition between amateur gamers. Still, in the late 2000s with the participation of professional gamers in the presence of a large audience through live streaming methods, it saw a huge surge in their popularity. As time went by, esports became a significant factor in the gaming industry.
They encouraged many game developers to actively design and provide necessary funds for holding tournaments and various other events.
Various genres of video games have become associated with esports such as the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), a real-time strategy (RTS), first-person shooter (FPS), fighting, battle royales, and card games.
Popular esports has also become established like the League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota, Starcraft, Super Smash Bros, World of Warcraft, and many more.
Esports leading the market over the years
Though esports may seem to be a niche activity, its influence and scope is massive spread all over the world that it is considered to rival even the entertainment industries.
Many numbers can be used to highlight this feature. In the year 2018, esports brought in an astounding $906 million, with approximately 436 million viewers worldwide, and the fun fact is, over 40% of the viewers do not play the said game. For the year 2020, predicted revenues from esports is around $1.48 billion.
The tournaments and leagues
The millions of viewers watching the tournaments do not necessarily mean that each of the viewers is gamers, many of them don’t even know how to play the game that they watched, they are just interested in simply watching their favourite game with their friends and millions of other people around the world.
The huge amount of audience matches the figures in the prize money that is up for grabs. Profits in esports tournaments and league held such an upside that in 2017, Riot games began to sell League of Legends franchises for $10 million, and the Overwatch League franchise for $20 million by Activision Blizzard.
Ways of viewing
Primarily, all the viewing takes place online, but nowadays, with a rise in their popularity, larger sports channels have started incorporating the e-gaming into their schedules.
The esports scenario up till the late 2000s was mainly for the amateurs. Still, with improvements in broadband networks and increased computational powers in both PCs and mobile phones, live streaming sites emerged and paved its way to stardom.
So, the exponential growth of the esports industries can be credited to these live streaming platforms such as Panda. Tv, Youtube Gaming, Smashcast. Tv, Twitch and more.
Live streaming may be the major form of viewing the tournaments and leagues, but surprisingly, there has been an increase in demand for spectators who prefer to watch them in person. Answering to this request, large spaces have been made as a platform where you can witness these games in person.
Many of the esports tournaments have taken place in places such as the Beijing National Stadium, Cineplex Inc. in Canada, the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas with tickets selling out at phenomenal rates.
Sponsorships and esports fan profile
There are various ways you can earn in the industry, but with the research of specialists that analyze the gaming and esports have reported sponsorships as the biggest moneymakers which account up to almost 40% of the esports’ total revenue.
With the rise in popularity, the tournaments are now being sponsored by huge consumer brands such as Red Bull, Coke, Monster Energy, Mountain Dew, and even some electronic companies like Intel and Benq.
When a profile analysis was done for the esport fans, it was found that 75% of them were males and the remaining 25% were females, consisting of viewers from all age groups, the maximum belonging to the age group of 25-34, followed by those ageing 18-24.
World of Warcraft esports
Launched back in the year 2004, World of Warcraft has come a long way from being a bedroom fantasy world to become a worldwide phenomenon as the most popular massively multiplayer online game.
It has maintained its spot as the top MMO game till present date with continuous improvements being introduced to maintain its spot.
The foundation for esports was laid by Blizzard in 2007 when it announced the embracing of esports at the annual fan expo, BlizzCon as a three vs three arenas.
This was the start in its journey of esports with the addition of many other events along the years. With the increasing popularity of esports over the years, WoW has stepped up on its competitive scenes, and the prize pools and fan support has also tremendously grown.
The year 2010 saw the first attempt to raid experience by bringing out the #1 guild Paragon on stage to fight against the bosses of the past raids. It was at 2011 that we first saw a glimpse at the Race to World First where the guilds Blood Legion and Vodka has to go head-to-head on stage to finish the 25-man raid first. This was repeated in 2013.
In 2017 and 2018, Blizzard bought the Mythic Dungeon Invitational (MDI) - the second pillar of World of Warcraft esports - to BlizzCon. In this event, the best teams from all over the world - Europe, China, Asia-Pacific, America - to the battle stage and become the MDI Champions.
The on-stage teams had to fight through the same dungeon using any five-person composition as per their preference, with the same affix combination.
The team that kills the last boss and achieves a 100 per cent clear competition percentage, and is awarded for killing a certain number of non-boss mobs in a dungeon will be crowned as the champion.
Though MDI was not focused on the PvP side of esports, it still felt like a more natural fit for the World of Warcraft. By 2019, the name would be changed to Mythic Dungeon International heading to the new expansion of Battle of Azeroth.