ESports are to gamers what a live football game is to football fans. eSports are not physical games. Instead, they are watched on computers, smartphones, and television screens. For many eSports fans, instead of watching in isolation, they gather at large events and watch together, just like a regular sporting event. Often those playing the games are there as well to add a little more action, provide in-person interviews, feedback, and meet with fans. For eSports fans, these events have the same intensity as a live sporting event.
The Rise of eSports
ESports aren’t new. They’ve been around since the 1990s but have only recently become popular and are even broadcasted on television, just like physical sporting events. Youtube has also helped as many eSports fans watch competitions, events, and single players on Youtube. The popularity of eSports is owed to advances in technology. The Internet is now ubiquitous and fast, allowing more people to participate in eSports and watch them from anywhere. As with any other sport, social media has helped eSport events to grow. With smartphones, people are able to play games no matter where they are. As well, the smartphone ecosystem (i.e., Apple App Store), has given rise to a large and growing community of mobile app developers, who create many games. Mobile games also allow people to play a quick game session, even if their day is full. Most eSports participants work full-time jobs and are between the ages of 21 and 35.
ESports are very popular in Europe. Especially in Scandinavian and Eastern European countries where video gaming is the most popular Youtube genre.
A Profitable Industry
ESports has become a profitable industry. It’s modeled after the physical sports industry — players are paid, distributors are paid to broadcast, and advertisers pay broadcasters. Licensing deals are made with large brands and more and more popular brands continue to find their way into the eSports ecosystem.