What are esports?

What are esports?
In recent years, esports is a word that’s hard to miss.

To put shortly, esports are very similar to regular sports, with leagues and teams of pro players, and their sponsors. Those pro players, in ways similar to traditional pro sports players, are employed by contract, being paid enormous amounts every year. In a way a bit different from traditional athletes, when esports teams win a tournament, a bonus is paid for winning.The country with the most player earnings for 2018 is the USA, with China and Korea coming in second and third. The USA is also at number one in terms of player numbers, with Korea in second, and China in third place.

History of esports

Competitions centered on video games have been going on since the dawn of video games, with high score competitions of Space Invaders and Donkey Kong in local arcades to QuakeCon in the late 90s and even televised competitions in the 2000s. Now, esports tournaments and competitions have become a huge part of mainstream culture in many parts of the world.

Esports in the USA

Cory with Twitch jumper

While traditional sports still hold a high place in American society, and the slightest mention of video games being a sport could get you laughed at, esports are taking a strong foothold in the USA. With the highest number of players and the most amount of prize money paid out in the US, along with touting the first stadium dedicated to esports in the world, there is an increasing awareness and popularity towards esports.

Many companies in the US are also sponsors of teams, leagues, and competitions, such as Intel and Riot Games.

Esports in Japan

On the other hand, Japan, one of the countries most known for games, and home of Street Fighter and Smash Bros. – popular esports games – has a quite small presence in the world of esports. This is because the laws meant to restrict gambling in Japan incidentally apply to esports as well, where no amount of gaming tournament prize money could exceed 100,000 yen.

But, the attitude in regards to these competitions is changing, with progress in the legal realm starting to be made, giving esports competitions a bit of a brighter future in the country.

Esports has become a huge part of the gaming community, even with people pushing to have esports recognized as an official sport, with the possibility of these competitions going even more global by possibly appearing in the Olympics in the near future.