The Rise of E-Sports



RLCS World Championships in London

Tyler Kleine

While it seems that video games are constantly in the midst of controversy, there seems to be an outlier. Electronic sports or more commonly known as E-Sports is defined as “a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.” Almost every video game could fall into the “sport” category but only few make it because it can be hard to appeal to a large audience if said game is not entertaining.

Popular E-Sport games include League of Legends (LoL), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Defense of the Anciets (DOTA), Overwatch, and Call of Duty. Games like LoL and DOTA draw the largest crowds and venues due to their influence not only in the United States but also with a large player base in Asia. While these games are limited to desktop computers (PC) both are free to play for anyone that has access to a computer, giving them an edge over other games.

Different events take place for these sports throughout the world during the year. Venues like DreamHack, E-League and World Showdown of E-Sports (WSOE) are a couple of events that feature multiple games to viewers to watch. For those that can not make it, gameplay is streamed live on the popular streaming platform Twitch. Stadiums and Convention centers have been the most common venue for these events. World Championships for both LoL and CS:GO have sold out, which some professional sports teams can not always do.

Fox Sports Asia
LoL World Championship Event

Professional players can vary in age depending on the age of the game itself. Older games like LoL have a higher player age average at 26 since the game has been out longer. For newer games like Rocket League (2015) the average player age is 19 years old. This is what appeals to many people as E-Sports is unlike other sports, where you don’t have to necessarily be in top tier physical shape or condition to compete.

Recently, Rocket League announced their sponsorship of a competitive season to take place in 2019. While there has been a High School E-Sports League (HSEL) in existence, many game developers did not sponsor tournaments or exhibition matches. After Rocket League developer Psyonix announced this other developers like Epic Games and Ubisoft have become interested and are looking to try this as well.

While many see people who play video games on a daily basis as nerds or people with no life, there are those that have put in a lot of practice and work into the games. E-Sports is on the rise not only in the United States but also globally, next time you come across some gameplay on ESPN 2 or ESPN 3, check it out for a bit. I highly recommend it.