If you’ve spent any time at all online in the past two years, you will probably have heard the term e-sports. This growing industry can be somewhat bewildering but we’re here to help! Read on to learn more about e-sports and how you can get involved.
What are e-sports?
Also known as esports, electronic sports and competitive gaming, e-sports is broadly defined as the playing of video games competitively, at a professional level. Any digital or computer-based game can be considered an e-sport if there is a winner and a loser, and there are several types of games that are included in this category, even at higher levels.
Team-based esport games are hugely popular, with leagues and tournaments taking place all over the world and throughout the year. Some can be regional while others are international, drawing big crowds from all over the world thanks to the large prize pool up for grabs.
Head-to-head games also draw the crowds, pitting one player against another in fighting or card games.
Popular e-sports games
There are two main variants of team e-sports, namely first-person shooters and something called MOBAs, which stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.
First-person shooters, or FPS, would include titles like Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2 and the Call of Duty series. There can be different objectives to the game, whether that’s simply killing the opposing team, claiming and holding territory or delivering a payload to a location on the map.
Players in a MOBA game each have a personal character, which they upgrade over time and that they always use from game to game. The objective of MOBA games is to gain an advantage over the opposing team, destroying their base and claiming experience points and gold, which are they used to improve the player’s avatar. The biggest titles in this category are League of Legends and Dota 2.
Other e-sport categories include strategy games like Starcraft 2, fighting games such as Street Fighter V or sport games like FIFA.
Where to watch e-sports
This type of competition is perfectly suited to the digital realm that it was created in. Smaller events or amateur tournaments are easily available through online platforms like Twitch and Youtube, where even newbies can stream their battles with ease.
When it comes to larger, more important tournaments, broadcasters like the BBC and ESPN can buy the rights to show a match on TV. Big international events will often take place in sold-out arenas, where spectators can watch competitors battle it out on stage. Still, Youtube and Twitch remain the most popular way to watch competitions of all kinds and across genres.
What are they playing for?
With the massive rise of e-sports as a professional endeavour, sponsorships and prize pools have grown exponentially. The potential for big esport earnings will most certainly have something to do with that. Big leagues will offer players a regular salary and companies will sponsor both individual teams and the prizes for large tournaments. It’s not unusual for a League of Legends tournament to have million-dollar prizes at stake.
Betting on e-sports
If football or rugby or tennis just doesn’t do it for you, esport betting might be just the thing to pique your interest. A growing number of casinos offering sportsbook betting are including e-sports options for players to bet on. The great thing about betting on e-sports is that there are so many different games, each with their own style of play. Newbies can sometimes be put off by the complexity of a Dota 2 match, with all its different player avatars and upgrades. Rocket League or Street Fighter might be easier to understand and no less fun to bet on.
E-sports is set to be worth some $1.5 billion by the year 2020 and their potential for wagering opportunities is infinite. With tournaments of all levels and across game titles happening all the time, you’ll never run out of chances to place your bets on this exciting digital sport.