If one part of the gaming industry has emerged to become a real success story in recent years, it has to be the world of eSports. Professional competitive gaming is now hugely popular with gamers and has developed to the point where it has become a multimillion dollar industry.
eSports events attract the interest of a huge number of fans across the world, but despite this it is fair to say that they do not get the same level of attention from the media or public when compared to more traditional sports like soccer. However, could the latter in fact have a key role to play in bringing the thrill of eSports to wider public attention?
Tough for newcomers
Much of the eSports scene currently revolves around online battle arena games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, as well as multiplayer first-person shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO). Tournaments related to these games attract a huge amount of attention in the gaming community, with competitors often battling for a share of major prize money. Such games have also inspired an offshoot betting scene with CSGO betting sites as well as mainstream bookmakers offering odds on this title as well as others in events such as the Intel Extreme Masters and League of Legends’ Worlds 2018.
However, while such games are popular, it is fair to say that – from gameplay elements to rules and strategy – there is a lot for newcomers to get their heads around. This is where sports simulation games differ, as the general rules and themes tend to conform to the traditional ‘offline’ sports that they are based on. Take FIFA 19, for example, where gamers in most cases can expect matches to follow the tried and tested rules you would expect from a normal soccer match.
So could a game like FIFA 19 ultimately provide many sports fans with an entry point into the world of eSports? A new tournament based on the game, which is set to get underway at the start of next year, may go some way towards providing the answer to that question.
Created by EA Sports and the Premier League, the ePremier League will start in January 2019 and initially see FIFA 19 players in the UK compete in an online qualification round. Each Premier League club will then hold a live-playoff round to select two players – one on PlayStation 4 and one on Xbox One – to represent them at the live ePL final.