Let’s face it; we’ve all been exposed to video games at some point in life. The more avid among us have surely spent many a night gaming away, only to be on the receiving end of snide taunts from our parents come dawn! While it’s true that video games rarely offered anything but entertainment before, this is no longer the case. Competitive gaming is now officially a thing.
So what is Esports?
“Esports or e-sports is a wonderful and amazing phenomenon”, claims Peter ‘ppd’ Dager in his latest vlog. The 25-year-old CEO of esports organisation Evil Geniuses is living the life of his dreams.
Quite simply put, esports encompasses organised multiplayer video-game competitions between professional or ‘pro’ players. The rise of the internet in the late 2000s contributed to a sharp spike in its popularity. The rise of professional players competing in tournaments and competitions organised by video-game developers and independent organisations alike has been the catalyst of this movement. Greater access to global viewership via live-streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch gave birth to global fan-bases. The global revenue generated via esports hit an astonishing US $493 million in 2016, with global viewership nearing the 250 million mark in 2015.
In essence, the setup today is just like any other modern sport such as football or basketball. The esports hype train is travelling so fast, professional sporting teams are investing in their own esports subdivisions to further consolidate their brand image!
Something for everyone
Now you might ask; is there really money in this? The answer: YES! For instance, consider the case of Syed Hassan. Better known by his stage name, Suma1L is a Pakistan-born professional Dota 2 player currently playing Dota (Defense of the Ancients) for Evil Geniuses (EG), an independent North-American esports organisation. Suma1L rose to fame on the back of astronomical success with EG, as his team clinched top-spot in DAC 2015, and eventually, The International 2015; the tournament boasting the then largest prize-pool in esports history at a little over $18 million (yes, you read that right). Suma1L himself was immortalised in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest player to surpass the $1 million mark in tournament winnings at the tender age of 16.
How is this relevant to those among us skilled enough to compete at such a high level? Well, for starters, events of this scale and proportion take months of prep. If you fancy the event management life, there’s undoubtedly enough opportunity to grasp. Moreover, any gaming event requires media coverage. This means live broadcasts, running commentary, analysis, features, blogging and a whole lot more. Esports and journalism go hand in hand for the video-game aficionado!
Clearly, a paradigm shift is in the works; what was once considered a hobby or a vice is now a serious platform for gaming enthusiasts to earn a living. And although late compared to its global counterparts, the movement is gathering momentum in India too.
Keep your eyes peeled for the variety of esports career opportunities on offer in the second part of this series.
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