Computer games were once reserved for nerdy and geeky individuals that stayed at home and never went outside. At least, that’s what we believed. Nowadays, video game players can make six-figure salaries from playing competitive video games in worldwide tournaments, and this all happened within the past decade.
Competition has always been at the centre of sports. It doesn’t matter if you’re competing at who can throw a javelin the farthest or jump the longest, if there’s a skill involved there’s competition. Games like chess are now considered Olympic sports, and even Poker is considered a “mind” sport. So what about video-games?
Big Crowds, Big Money, Big Business
South Korea is home to some of the largest and most recognised video-game organisations in the world. There are even dedicated TV channels that show live games being played, and they run 24 hours a day. Free online games such as League of Legends are popular across South Korea as well as the West. In 2015, League of Legends was viewed by 334 million unique people over the course of 73 games, with the average concurrent viewership at 4.2 million.
In 2016, the company behind the popular video game “Dota 2” held a tournament in Seattle with a prize pool of over $20.7million! The winners (a team of 5) took home a total of $9.1million to split.
Compared to another mind-sport like poker, the prize money isn’t quite there yet. In 2006, the total prize pool for the World Series of Poker was a staggering $82million. The largest first-place prize was in 2012, when Antonio Esfandiari took home $18.3million. We can only ever dream of winning that kind of money playing cards, but you can always try by visiting a site like bonusadvisor.co.uk.
Electronic Sports is Seeing Incredible Growth
According to Newzoo, the global audience for electronic sports grew from 204 million to 292 million in the span of 2 years. That’s a staggering 42% increase, and it’s projected to exceed 427 million by the end of 2019. Revenue in the industry grew from $194million to $463million in the same period, which is a 239% increase. The figures are expected to smash a billion dollars by 2019. In 10 years time, electronic sports could be as big as the NHL in America. It might just become a sport that everyone can enjoy!
It Takes Effort Just Like Any Other Sport
Contrary to what people think, playing video games is tough work and training for several hours a day is no different than physically exerting yourself. While it might not be as physically demanding, there is a need for top-notch reflexes and finger dexterity. When it comes to the physical component, video-game players need to be more graceful with their movements, as opposed to being the fastest or strongest.
Most electronic sports are played in a team environment, and as such, team synergy and coaching sessions are key to improving a team’s success. In that sense, it should be viewed the same as any other team-based sport. If sports such as ice dancing and dressage can count as a sport, then why not video games?