Have you ever wondered how exactly your favorite video games came into being? Esports has been our ultimate source of entertainment for years, so much so that some of our core childhood memories come straight from a computer screen. However, the industry’s journey to becoming one of the leading global markets has been rather difficult.
Patch up! Because we’re about to unleash the origin of your favorite video games and take you back in time to where it all started.
WHAT IS ESPORTS?
As the name suggests Esports or Electronic Sports is a digital approach towards indoor sports. It involves video games that are followed professionally to compete in different tournaments and other events. These events primarily involve teams or players competing against one another on the same platform for the decided prize money.
One of the most important reasons behind esports’ alleged popularity is the role of teenagers admiring online games for decades. With the increasing accessibility of the internet, online games are in an all-time high market. Thus, making esports a prominent industry in modern times. For more information on esports and its background do check out our article on Esports: A Competitive Guide.
HISTORY OF GLOBAL ESPORTS
Have you ever wondered where exactly your favorite esports games and events originated from? It’s probably earlier than your estimation. This article will give you a detailed history of worldwide esports.
The first sign of an esports event dates back to early 1971-1972. The need of upholding an esports event for the younger generation was first recognized by the University of Stanford, wherein college students of vivid disciplines got to compete in a tournament of the original Spacewar game.
But unlike the modern trend, there was no dedicated prize pool. This pioneer event introduced the prize of a year-long subscription to the famous Rolling Stone magazine of the time.
Although this event was not an official esports event, it was the first token of recognition for the world of gaming. Thus the trend this event established kickstarted the first official esports/competitive gaming tournament in the year 1980.
FIRST OFFICIAL ESPORTS TOURNAMENT 1980
The world’s first-ever Esports tournament was the Space Invaders Championship which accommodated more than 10,000 players. Even though this number might seem comparatively less as per current times, it was rather significantly large participation during that period. The huge amount of interest positioned the concept of esports in the world’s eyes. Media, game developers, and several other groups worldwide slowly started to realize the potential of competitive gaming and esports as a whole
Though, it was eventually in the early 2000s that esports gained popularity and taught public attention. Many promising esports-oriented event management entities emerged, this was inclusive of the World Cyber Games and Electronic Sports World Cup. The launch of Major League Gaming (MLG) was also a benchmark of the time.
HOW LIVE STREAMING TRANSFORMED GAMING
Halo 2 led by the USA network was the first ever televised broadcast of an esports event. It is safe to say that broadcasting esports events were not a major hit back in the day, however, things were about to change with the distribution of Twitch in 2011. The invention of Twitch led to the first open public live-streaming and broadcasting platform that allowed gamers to connect with their fans.
While this might seem common as per current developments, it was an extraordinary deal for gamers across the world back in the 2010s. This made Twitch have an active hand in publicizing esports in general, as it made live streaming more easy and doable.
THE FIRST-EVER MEGA ESPORTS EVENT
With esports gaining massive public support, in 2011 the first-ever mega esports event was held by League of Legends titled “International Championship”. The same series of League of Legends events also went completely sold out during the 2013 edition held in Los Angeles.
In 2014 Amazon bought some of the most successful gaming-related businesses including Twitch and League of Legends which would proceed to become some of the biggest commercial hits of all time.
Not to forget mentioning that other players were co-existing in the market, while most struggled to survive- only a few managed to make a business out of the industry. Some of these are now popular names including Epic Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Rockstar Games, etc.. Over the course of the 2010s esports was at an all-time high value with many games making it to the professional scene and multiple esports tournaments becoming a part of the culture.
THE ESPORTS INDUSTRY IN 2022
And that’s how gaming became a prominent part of every teenager and young adult’s life. Today, the esports industry (professional gaming) is worth 1.44 billion U.S. dollars as of 2022. With the most valuable tournament exhibiting a prize pool of 47.79 million U.S. dollars (Dota 2).
It is also evaluated that with a CAGR of 21.0% during the forecast period, the esports industry will reach a total revenue of 5.48 billion U.S. dollar by 2029. Not to forget mentioning that, around 276,787 people in the United States are employed in the video games industry as of 2022, contributing to employment majorly post Covid-19.