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The Rise and Success of eSports

Photo by Adam Ziaja

Since conception, video games have held a competitive nature amongst gamers. The first video game competition was held in 1980 and featured Space Invaders. The event attracted over 10,000 participants. Three years later, the first U.S. National Video Game Team was developed to run many competitions throughout the year. As gaming technology improved, so did the number of tournaments and participants.

Multiplayer death match games began in 1993 with the release of Doom. This game created an entirely new online culture consisting of chat rooms, newsgroups and of course, IRC. At this time, players connected directly from one modem to another. Less than one year later, Doom II was released and DWANGO (Dial up Wide Area Network Gaming Operations) launched their services. This was the first hub of online gaming in North America.

Current eSports

In the late 1990’s, gamer Angel Munoz launched the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL). In 2005, the format changed to a World Tour which focused on head-to-head death match game Painkiller and a total prize purse of $1 million. In 2000, Seoul, Korea hosted the first World Cyber Games which held competitions in Age of Empires II, FIFA 200, Quake III Arena and StarCraft. The combination of the CPL and World Cyber Games led to modern eSports.

Only years later came the launch of Major League Gaming (MLG), a professional video game league in North America. In 2006 was the first MLG televised competition, broadcast by the USA Network. Currently, all events are broadcast on their homepage. In 2005 was the first World eSports Games and in 2006 was the first World Series of Video Games event.

Currently, there are entire battles arenas where spectators can watch players compete on huge televisions. As expected, the number of participants, viewers, leagues and competitions continues to increase each year. Also, the amount of money in the prize purse has significantly increased.

Future of eSports

In addition to the number of participant’s viewers and money, as technology increases, spectators will have additional options for viewing such as HD in 1080p, advertisement-free broadcasts, and additional access to premium content and video on demand. Also, many leagues will begin to form partnerships with television channels as an alternative to Internet/streaming. With the number of viewers growing at a rapid rate, there are many financial advantages to sponsoring eSports events.

Additionally, the graphics in each game will improve and player interaction will also increase. Furthermore, gamers can expect growing global communities for games such as StarCraft II and League of Legends. Finally, MMORPG’s will eventually develop into eSports competitions and events.

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