The video game industry is one of the largest industries in the world – with its biggest companies earning hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue every single year. In a world where technology and entertainment dominate everyday life, video games are seen as forms of entertainment that immerses people into entirely different worlds where they eventually build communities. esports, as most people know it, is definitely one of the most sought-after forms of entertainment in the world.
From simple computer programs during the 1950s and 1960s, the 8, 16, and 32-bit consoles during the 1980s and 1990s, to the transition to HD gaming during the 2000s, video games have surely come a long way. With how profitable the industry is today, some of the biggest gaming companies participate in Major gaming events across the world, showing everyone how much video games have yet to reach its potential.
Along with the development of the video game technology, the Internet has also improved at the same time. With connectivity becoming increasingly more convenient than ever, this has helped bring gaming to a whole new level of community and competitiveness.
This development also gave birth to the competitive gaming scene, which pits gamers all over the world against each other. In the beginning, these were casual games that encouraged some happy and friendly competition. This eventually grew into competitions in which actual prizes are to be won. While it may not have been apparent during that time, this would eventually give birth to esports and the corresponding community. Today, esports is one of the most watched events across the world, with millions of people watching every year.
It is also one of the most profitable events as well, with an increasing number of sponsorship deals supporting these massive events. In many ways, esports gaming events is a major game changer in the industry itself. Here’s how esports grew into the lucrative spectacle that it is today.
Although the internet has been in development during much of the 1980s, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the Internet began to expand into homes and businesses across the world. This gave people more connectivity than ever before. People suddenly gained more ways to communicate, with things like email, video chatting, and instant messaging all at their early stages. While they may not be as refined as they are today, this helped give people a new dimension in how we interact.
Before the era of LAN parties and MMORPGs, playing multiplayer games mean getting an extra controller (or three) and playing on a single console. Despite the early limitations of the hardware during this time, multiplayer gaming was just as popular, as it gave the esports community of the era a chance to showcase their skills to their friends and show how good they are with regards to playing a specific game. Eventually, these friendly competitions gave way to arcade tournaments, which included both multiplayer (mostly fighting games) and single player games (those who get the highest score wins).
By the time the 1990s arrived, connecting gamers through LAN became a possibility, and this was shown by games like DOOM and Quake. These two games were not only the trailblazers of the first-person shooter genre, but also spawned the online shooter. These games became highly competitive and helped foster a new era of gaming. Eventually, other game genres followed in the online craze, quite notable were role-playing games and real-time strategy games.
The Genesis of esports
In 1998, the ground-breaking Half-Life was released, which was one of the best games of the era. It was known for its wonderful storytelling, detailed graphics, and immersive gameplay. Little did people know, that a modified version of the game would eventually revolutionize gaming. Sometime after the release of the game, a Half-Life mod named Counter-Strike was developed and released.
The game was basically a multiplayer version of the original Half-Life and pits two teams – the Terrorist and the Counter-Terrorists, against each other. While the game might be simple at a glance, it became highly competitive and exciting over time. Later on, this would eventually help expand the competitive gaming scene by creating international tournaments where the world’s best gamers compete for the top prize.
Along with Counter-Strike, games such as Starcraft, Quake III Arena, and Warcraft III were very much a huge part of these major gaming events. During the year 2000, there were only 27 official gaming tournaments, that number rose to 148 in 2004.
As the years passed by, the esports scene continued to grow steadily, with a mix of classic and new games keeping gamers competitive. During the late 2000s, a new game genre, called the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), would slowly gain a massive following that would take esports by storm. This all started with a Warcraft III mod called The Defense of the Ancients. The gameplay is simple: two teams compete against each other with the goal of destroying the main structure of their respective bases. The game had a steep learning curve where practice and training would really be needed to excel.
If FPS and RTS games helped bring esports into general relevance, MOBAs took them to an even higher level. By the 2010s, games like League of Legends, DotA 2, and Smite took the world by storm – with teams being formed across the world that were equipped with the goal of becoming the best. These gamers became stars in their own right, earning lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals and being able to earn millions each year.
The competitions also got bigger – with events being held at massive indoor stadiums that house basketball games and concerts. This massive audience growth can also be attributed to the online streaming community, which are gamers who share and show their daily gaming adventures. This helped build a solid community of gamers, all of which support the games they love.
At present, esports continues to be highly competitive and lucrative, with professional sports teams creating their own esports teams as well. The video game industry is also at a high as billions of dollars in revenue are being earned each year – with a good chunk coming from the esports industry. With the upcoming years looking to bring more games and challenges into the fold, it seems that the rise would just keep going and going.
We cannot end this article while not mentioning the growth of esports in the Philippines. Historically speaking, esports in the Philippines was not that big of a deal in the entire Philippine entertainment industry. However, with the rise of state of the art internet cafe’s such as Mineski Infinity, the passionate and talented Filipino esports community has had an avenue to use their skills while having more than adequate tools at their disposal.
Additionally, with the rise of these internet cafes, the Filipino esports community and Philippine esports have had an astounding growth during the last year. 2016 is definitely the year where Philippine esports reached a milestone with having Filipino teams represent the country in large international events, and even holding major gaming tournaments inside the country! There is no doubt that the growth of esports, in general, has affected what we know as Philippine esports. And us, the esports community in the Philippines, cannot wait for the day where the esports in the Philippines reaches its peak.
esports has come a long way ever since its introduction – from small tournaments attracting thousands to major gaming events that are viewed by millions yearly. With more and more gamers attracted to the highly competitive world of esports, expect it to just keep growing more.