Esports (electronic sports) are planned events of multiplayer video games, involving in particular professional players, individually or in teams. From arcade games in the 1970s to home video games to global esports competitions, the industry has grown from a hobby into its own world of entertainment.
Video games have become a popular international form of entertainment today, with competitiveness contributing to its popularity. This competitive factor has given rise to esports, professional gaming and its integration into online sports betting. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and take a trip down memory lane to investigate the growth of esports.
The first type of esports tournament was held in 1971 at Stanford University, where students competed in the game Spacewar. The reward for this pioneering event was a one-year subscription to the famous Rolling Stone magazine. Unlike today, there was no cash reward.
It was the start of something new in the gaming industry. In 1980, it fueled the first organized competitive gaming competition, the Space Invaders Championship. It opened people’s eyes to the world of competitive gaming.
The media, game developers, and various other groups gradually realized the potential of competitive gaming and began to act on it. In the same year, another massive competitive gaming tournament was held, this time hosted by Twin Galaxies. It was founded by the Walter Day organization, which tracked the highest scores in the world.
Players competed to see who could be the top five scorers in Twin Galaxies. People became obsessed with the games which gradually made their way into television programming, where live mini-contests had participants competing for the highest score. They received cash prizes or gift baskets, and people all over the world started watching these competitions.
The birth of video games
In the late 1980s, Nintendo began to dominate esports by taking game control, visuals, and accessibility to new heights. In the 1990s, Nintendo was also one of the first organizations to recognize the potential of esports, launching its global championship. Additionally, game designers and developers have made video games much more accessible to everyone than in the previous decade.
Nintendo hosted the next World Championship in 1994. The event was a huge success, with massive crowds attending the Grand Finals in San Diego, California. These tournaments paved the way for today’s esports events.
Because there was no well-established social media or regular gaming competitions in the late 1990s, it was rather difficult for gamers to communicate with each other. E-sports became popular when gaming cafes opened their doors, and with the advent of the internet and PC gaming, e-sports finally reached a new level.
Online games and Twitch
Even though esports found its way into television broadcasting in the late 1990s, the whole world was never allowed to participate in the competitive gaming industry due to disputes over rights and various viewing mediums in the world. With the emergence of the Twitch stream, that changed. Twitch was designed to be, and continues to be, the leading streaming platform for gaming and esports.
The platform has taken esports to previously unfathomable heights. Internet streaming of popular esports has become accessible to everyone. Gamers now have the option of earning a living playing games at home rather than pursuing a professional career in gaming.
The future of sports
Esports is still on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down. Traditional teams have recognized esports and esports teams receive millions of dollars in sponsorship for major tournaments. With the momentum of esports, the future of the industry looks bright.