With eSports’ star in ascendancy, it’s not hard to find people who are enthusiastic about at least one of its many disciplines. Whether you’re a hardcore League of Legends fanatic or you get your kicks watching Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games, there’s bound to be an eSport for you.
If you’re new to this exciting world, though, there’s a lot you might not already know about eSports. Even if you’re a veteran, there might still be a few tidbits of knowledge that surprise you. We’ve gathered together 10 facts about eSports which you might not know. Some of these won’t be a shock to the most ardent fans, but hey – it’s always good to refresh your knowledge, right?
- eSports is soon to be a billion-dollar industry
There’s an absolutely astonishing amount of money tied up in eSports. From consumer ticket purchases to merchandising and advertising deals, the economy of eSports is worth around $900 million, and is expected to break a billion dollars within the next two to three years. For context, the NFL American football league is worth around $75 billion, while European football clocks in at around £22 billion (or around $28.5 billion). It’s true that eSports isn’t close to matching these titanic sports franchises just yet, but considering that video games have traditionally been viewed as a niche art form, that’s not bad.
- Many places offer betting opportunities for eSports
Continuing the theme of eSports elbowing their way into the sacred pantheon of sporting events, there are now outlets which offer betting and gambling opportunities for those interested in a little flutter. If you are going to bet on eSports, we’d strongly recommend you choose a game you’re familiar with, or get to grips with one if you don’t already know any. Betting on these games can be incredibly lucrative, but you should really know your stuff before you start.
- It’s not just one game
Okay, we bet most of you probably already know this one, but it’s easy to envision eSports as a single discipline when it’s actually composed of several different games. Some of the most popular eSports games include League of Legends, Valve’s DotA 2 and Blizzard’s Overwatch. The genres of these games aren’t fixed, either; LoL and DotA 2 are MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas), while Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are both first-person shooters. The world of eSports is a varied and diverse one, for sure.
- The world’s largest eSports prize pool is almost $25 million
Last year’s The International tournament for DotA 2 saw a staggering collective prize pool of $25 million. That amount wasn’t given to a single team; rather, it was divided up between every team that competed, with the highest share allocated to first, second, third and fourth places. Popular eSports collective Team Liquid won the biggest prize of almost $11 million, with Newbee and LGD.Forever Young bringing up the vanguard in second and third place. With the profits of eSports set to increase exponentially, expect bigger and bigger prize pools in the future.
- Players still have to endure rigorous training
If you’re a naysayer, or you’re not too clued-up about eSports, you might think that since it’s a video game-based discipline, the players involved don’t have to train or keep themselves fit. That’s not the case, though. A huge amount of tournaments are held all over the globe, with around 3,700 being held in 2017 alone. Of course, not every team competes in every event, but that’s still a heck of a lot of tournaments each team competes in on a yearly basis. That requires a lot of training, honing of one’s skills, and – crucially – a lot of travel and upset schedules. The players in eSports teams might not have the same physically demanding training regimens as the top athletes, but they work just as hard.
- Mobile gaming is on the up
With games like Arena of Valor, Mobile Legends and Vainglory widely available for mobile platforms, the idea of mobile gaming as an eSports discipline is really taking off. In 2017, the Vainglory World Championship amassed 56,000 viewers, which might not sound like much, but this is a mobile MOBA rather than a mainstream tentpole franchise and it doesn’t have the heft and weight behind it of huge contenders like League of Legends and DotA 2. Compare that with 2016’s viewing figures of 22,900, and you see that the audience more than doubled in that intervening year. Watch this space: mobile eSports are coming to a venue near you.
- Female gamers are just as into eSports as male gamers
The video game industry can seem quite male-dominated, with games like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike attracting a predominantly male audience. The world of eSports is a little different, though. A study conducted by PwC shows that 22% of surveyed female gamers said they were “involved” in eSports, whether that’s as a competitor or an amateur fan. Oddly enough, only 18% of men answered in the affirmative when asked the same question. We can’t quite say that this means more female gamers are interested in eSports than male gamers, because the numbers aren’t equal. Nonetheless, this seems like a great place to start if we want to begin redressing gender balance in our industry.