The concept of people spending hours watching another person playing video games seemed alien 10 or 15 years ago. Even though video games were extremely popular at the time, watching others play was not seen as very appealing.
Through the popularity of YouTube, another video streaming sites, and the eventual rise of Twitch, watching people play their favorite titles has become a lot more common.
Viewers can visit sites like Twitch and decide if they want to watch someone playing at an online casino or gaming in a first-person shooter or another genre. But why are esports so popular?
Below is a guide that explains the explosion in the popularity of esports, and where the sector may go in the next five years.
Many popular sports around the world, such as soccer, American football, basketball, baseball, cricket, tennis, Formula One racing, and golf, are behind paywalls. People have to pay for cable television subscriptions if they want to watch their favorite teams.
Since sports fans are often based worldwide and not necessarily in the same city as the teams they support, watching games can be difficult if they are behind a paywall; there are no such issues with esports, as nearly all significant events are available to stream for free on various platforms.
Whether someone wants to follow a specific streamer, or they want to watch major events for a particular sport, they can do so online without having to pay anything. They can even replay the event afterward for free.
Such accessibility makes it very easy to whip out a phone or tablet, visit a streaming website, and start watching an esports competition. Regular sports make it a lot harder, as you have to sign up for cable services or pay for a streaming subscription.
When people think about esports, they likely have an image in their mind of the person and the game involved. Those misconceptions are usually not true because there is such diversity in esports.
The sheer number of games that are classified in esports means that you can find a fun game in nearly any genre where people compete for money. For example, there are vast differences between games such as Counter-Strike and FIFA. One is a first-person shooter, while the other is a soccer video game. Both have esports competitions throughout the year.
Such diversity is not only present with respect to the games but also to the competitors. People of all ages, bodies, genders, nationalities, ethnicities, and backgrounds compete for prizes. There is truly something for everyone where esports are concerned.
People Follow the Games They Play
Hundreds of millions of people around the world play video games at least one or two times a week. There is a good chance that some of these people will take an interest in the esports competitions of the games they enjoy playing.
If someone plays Call of Duty for an hour after their college courses or work, they are likely to search for CoD videos on YouTube or Twitch. They may come across an esports competition and start watching. Eventually, they become interested in a particular streamer, and they transform into an esports fans.
In the same way that people follow the sports they played as kids or young adults, they end up interested in the esports of the games they enjoy playing.
People who are not familiar with the esports world assume that it is likely impersonal, as you are merely watching people play games behind a screen. That could not be further from the truth, as esports communities are very active and thriving.
People meet new friends on Twitch and YouTube chats, connect with them at esports conventions, and can form lifelong friendships this way. Esports also make it easy for the viewers to connect with the gamers they follow, as they can send them messages on streaming platforms like Twitch.
A Legitimate Career
Young people from recent generations can all relate to being told by their parents that no one ever made a living from playing video games. While that statement may have rung true in the past, it is now refuted by the popularity of esports.
Between playing professional tournaments, competing in events with prize money, streaming games online, or posting videos of streaming content on YouTube, esports athletes have many avenues to monetize their passion and profession.
Anyone who is an avid gaming enthusiast, and is good at playing a specific title, can look into establishing themselves in the esports world.