You will be shocked at the size and growth rate of Esports. Esports is one of if not the biggest sport in the world. The prize pools are staggering and businesses are taking notice. Esports is now a mainstay in Las Vegas and it’s not slowing down. Colleges & Universities are building a curriculum around the sport and investing in stadiums. Kids are choosing Esports over traditional sports such as basketball and football. Our goal is to become a leader in Esports data, content and news.
History of Esports
The first gaming competition took place in 1972, as students at Stamford University competed in a tournament for their newest game, Spacewar. The prize for the tournament was an annual subscription to Rolling Stones Magazine.
In the 48 years since the first-ever video game tournament, video games and competition have been intertwined, destined to be forever linked. The next major video game tournament did not occur until 1980, 8 years later, when Space Invaders held a $10,000 dollar tournament.
Throughout the next 20 years until 2000, video games were designed as an adventure for a person to experience on their own, rather than a competition between multiple people. Different games would have records for time of completion or accomplishments along those lines, but nothing else.
During the 1990s as the internet allowed people to connect with each other from across the world, including gamers. People could now communicate with each other while playing games from a completely different place in the world. Games could be played on PC’s now as well as gaming consoles, which increased the player base. Companies started sponsoring gaming tournaments to give cash prizes to players as well. Nintendo and Blockbuster were two of the main companies responsible for this. In 1997, the first official Esports tournament was held on the game “Quake”. The competition drew 2000 participants and was the first event sponsored by the Game developer as a competitive Esport event.
The 2000s was revolutionary for competitive gaming. Technology continued to grow stronger and stronger, and the love for video games followed the same trajectory. As technology became cheaper and widely available to all, video games skyrocketed in popularity across the world. Generations of children grew up playing video games as soon as possible, and the outlets to compete gaming are endless now.
Companies are building games with the sole intention of making the game an Esport, rather than a game that appeals to casual players. People can compete in almost any game for money now, and there is a set path to become pro in most popular video games that are out now.
The game that was released recently that changed the landscape of online competition is Fortnite. The online competitions for Fortnite are open to every person with the game in the world, while also boasting the largest prize pools. Any person in the world can try to play Fortnite competitively and win millions of dollars from one event alone.
The projection for Esports revenue in 2020 is $1.5 billion and is only going to increase going forward. People have packed thousands of themselves in crowded stadiums for centuries to watch athletes compete at the highest level, and now people can experience the same intensity and action in the world of video games.
Future of Esports
It is hard to predict the path of Esports as a whole going forward. It would be equally as difficult to try to predict the future for all sports leagues collectively, rather than individually. However, the popularity and attention towards Esports have increased exponentially in recent years, and will most likely continue to grow.
Every Esport has grown in popularity in the past few years, due to the increased popularity of video games and the competitive side as well. The popular streaming platform for video games, Twitch is a good barometer to measure overall viewers for video games. In 2015, Twitch had 100 million viewers monthly, with 1.5 million streamers in total. In 2020, Twitch had 4 million unique streamers in the month of February alone, and over 4 million viewers a day. The monthly viewership total is over half a billion. As or right now, Twitch averages more concurrent viewers than MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News most nights, and have past ESPN for concurrent viewers during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Watching video games live is a relatively new market as well. YouTube had been the home for all things gaming since its inception in 2007 but did not offer live content for people interested. Twitch allowed people to interact with content creators and professional video game players directly and gave people lots of options to watch at once. Twitch is the home of creativity on the internet right now along with social media and is part of the reason why we are living in a current video game renaissance.
The future of Esports is unquestionably bright, but how bright can it be? Esports has always served as an alternative to traditional sports, but as the prize pools and viewers increase at an insane rate, it would be foolish to put a cap on how large Esports as a whole can grow. It is already a billion-dollar industry, and it will continue to grow as another option to traditional sports.
Another reason why Esports can continue to grow at such a fast rate is that a new video game can be created at any point, which can attract a large number of people. People are interested in new things, and new video games can be created in order to spark that interest. That option is not available in traditional sports, which can lead more fans to the path of Esports.
Top Games in Esports
The variety of games that can be played professionally is another advantage of Esports. There are numerous games and leagues within each game for people to compete, which increases the number of participants overall. Some games are more popular than others, just like how football is more popular than tennis. The variety allows people who wish to compete as many avenues and opportunities to make it, but the money lies with the Esports that generate the most revenue and have the most fans.
Some of the premiere Esports have existed for decades such as League of Legends, Dota 2, or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, while others have been created in recent years and receive constant updates, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty. Here is a ranking of the top 10 Esports of 2020, with an in-depth look at each game and why they are so important to Esports. There are plenty more Esports than just these 10, but this is a look at the biggest Esports with the most fans and money involved.
Each Esport features its own version of a season and playoffs to crown an annual champion, just like regular sports. Esports events are played as tournaments throughout the week or on weekends. They are played as a tournament in anything else, with only one champion standing alone victorious in the end.
Tournaments have always been the mode of competition for video games, dating back to 1972 with the first ever video game competition. Each Esport has multiple tournaments each year, and are the main draws of each Esports league. Tournaments typically have double the amount of viewers as regular-season events or non-sanctioned competition.
Here are some of the major tournaments from 2019 for some the main Esports, as well as the number of viewers for that event.
Fortnite World Cup – 2.3 million viewer peak; 22.7 million total
Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am – 562K viewer peak; 1.6 million total
League of Legends
Worlds – 4 million viewer peak; 137 million total
Mid-season Invitational – 1.7 viewer peak; 43 million total
LEC Summer 2019 -841K viewer peak; 22 million total
The Invitational 2019 – 1.97 million viewer peak; 88.8 million total
EPICENTER Major 2019 – 524k viewer peak; 18.43 million total
The Chongqing Major- 503k viewer peak; 12.62 million total
IEM Katowice Major 2019 – 1.2 million viewer peak; 52.3 million total
StarLadder Major Berlin 2019 – 838k viewer peak; 45.16 million total
ESL One Cologne 2019 – 506k viewer peak; 12.92 million total
Gambling is just as pervasive and present in Esports as it is in traditional sports. Online gambling sites allow players to wager money against set odds for a team or player in Esports matchups. If a person correctly predicts the outcome of the event against the set odds, they walk away with some cash in their pocket.
In Esports, there is another form of gambling as well. This gambling includes gambling with in-game rewards, such as weapon skins, character outfits, and other cosmetics that have a set value within the game. People can wager these in-game rewards on the outcomes of specific matches, and more in-game rewards if they win.
Skins require a bit more explanation. Skins are virtual items that can be used in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The term skin is derived from the function of these items in-game: changing the appearance of a player’s in-game avatar, weapons, or equipment.
While plenty of games employ some sort of skin system, CS:GO skins are the dominant currency in the skin betting market, accounting for over 80 percent of total betting activity with in-game rewards. This mode of betting is not as popular in other games but is still prevalent. In CSGO, skin gambling is much more popular than betting with cash, however, the game developer Valve has threatened to crack down on skin betting sites, which could hamper skin betting as a whole.
In terms of betting with actual money, League of Legends leads the way in terms of total bets made. 40% of all Esports wagers are made on League of Legends alone. Number 2 is CSGO, which accounts for 29% of all Esports betting. As of right now, only a few Esports leagues and developers allow gambling officially, and there is potential for major growth in Esports gambling in the near future.
While markedly smaller than sports betting on esports matches, there is still a demand for fantasy esports among Esports fans.
Most of the Esports fantasy sites deal in cash betting. The major websites are just who you’d expect when thinking about daily fantasy sports; you’ll find fantasy esports at DraftKings.
Fantasy eSports sites offer a variant of the salary-cap model, in which users select a roster of players for their fantasy team under the restrictions of a salary cap set by the website itself. After picking a team, the Esports competitors score fantasy points for users based on their performances in competition. The users that end a contest with the most fantasy points win cash prizes.
People compete against other people head-to-head as well as on a leaderboard competing for the best fantasy score overall. There are leagues available for most major Esports, and the most popular are for League of Legends and CSGO.
Frequently Asked Questions
Esport is the combination of the words electronic and sport. The word is a description of online video game leagues that mimic traditional sports leagues. Esports can be used to describe any video game being played competitively for a reward.
Any video game that is played competitively for a reward can be considered an Esport. The most popular Esports tend to have the largest player bases and prize pools for competitors. Here is a list of the top 10 Esports of 2020.
Here is a link to a list of the top 10 Esports of 2020. The most popular games competitively are usually the games with most active players overall. Some Esports that are popular right now are Counter-Strike, Fortnite, Call of Duty, League of Legends, and a new game, Valorant.
Twitch is a free-to-use streaming platform that allows people to watch others do things online in real-time. Twitch is primarily a video-gaming streaming website, which means it allows individuals to stream themselves playing video games for others to watch. Esports can be found on Twitch, and draw the largest amount of live viewers through Twitch.
Steam is an online video game store that is home to hundreds of thousands of games that can be downloaded instantly to a computer. Steam is free to download online from its website and is known for its cheap prices for its abundance of games.
There is not a set amount of competitors because many Esports have open qualifying rounds for their tournaments, meaning anyone can qualify. Open qualifiers can draw millions of players. Esports tournaments typically have anywhere between 8 to 24 teams or up to 100 individual competitors.
The largest prize pool in Esports currently is for The International, Dota 2’s annual world championship. The prize pool for The International 2019 was $35 million in total. Other major prize pools in Esports are Fortnite World Cup ($30 million), League of Legends Worlds ($9 million), and CSGO major finals ($2 million).