You hear the words “eSports” being thrown out all over the web and on TV, but don’t know what it means. You see unusual tournaments being held- instead of playing normal sports, you see players dressed out in their team uniforms hunched over their computer screens. Is eSports the future of video game competitions and video game entertainment?
What is eSports all about, and why is there a need for eSports consulting?
Welcome to the exciting world of eSports. It goes by many other names- competitive gaming, pro gaming, e-Sports, electronic sports, etc. The important thing to note is that it’s a competitive sport carried out electronically, i.e video games. eSports are organized video game competitions between professional gamers in different game genres. Some of the most popular genres include first-person shooter games (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena games (MOBA), fighting games and real-time strategy games (RTS). There are tournaments hosted all over the world for this specific type of gaming endeavor- the Smite World Championship, the Intel Extreme Masters, the Evolution Championship Series, the Battle.net World Series, the League of Legends Championship and The International to name a few. These tournaments broadcast the event and the games live, provide ample salary for the competitors and big money to the tournament winner.
How eSports Came To Be
eSports was said to have originated in South Korea. The evolution of broadband network, plus the Asian financial crisis made the people look for alternative jobs as they face a high unemployment rate. During this time, the prevalence of PC bangs, or LAN gaming centers brought the masses to the world of electronic gaming. The growth and popularity grew so tremendous that South Korea established the Korean eSports Association to regulate and promote e-Sports within the country.
The 21st century saw a massive boom following competitive eSports with lucrative prize money for being offered to the top players. The increase in viewership has risen significantly in the latter part of the century from 10 to more than 250 in 2010. Here, many successful tournaments like the Major League Gaming, the Intel Extreme Masters and the World Cyber Games rose in fame.
Watching eSports was unheard of until the year 2000s. Television coverage was shown for competitive electronic games such as Warcraft III and Starcraft, with 24/7 airing on some dedicated channels. Game broadcasting moved to the online realm, and online streaming services helped further the growth of eSports. Twitch is one of the more popular online streaming platforms, hosting eSports competition videos online. YouTube followed suit and hosted competitive online gaming videos, among others.
Today, eSports has become so popular that a physical viewership was made. The League of Legends Season 3 World Championship was held in Staples Center and it was a sold-out event. South Korea hosted the 2014 League of Legends World Championship, enjoying more than 40,000 people in attendance.
Top eSports Games
There’s a handful of preferred games among professional gamers. The 90’s saw a preference for fighting games in tournaments, which shifted to first-person shooters later on. The 2000s saw a proliferation of real-time strategy (RTS) which became dominant within South Korea and its internet cafes. In 2010, the balance shifted over to the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients, a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). All these are now on the eSports platforms.
Competitions for these games exist online and in various tournaments. Some other popular games are Starcraft II, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Heroes of the Storm, World of Tanks, Rocket League, DOTA 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Recently, Hearthstone has entered the competitive gaming platform as a competitive CCG since it was released in 2014.
What Makes A Good eSport Game?
Many games today are designed for the competitive world of e-Sports from the ground up. Developers may add in such features or create modifications to support a high level of competitive aspect. Some examples of games that have been specifically built for e-Sports gaming are Dota 2, League of Legends and Starcraft II.
What makes them such great competitive games? Here are some factors:
Perhaps the most important aspect in an e-Sport game is its connectivity. Most of them support a connection via the internet, and servers are divided up by regions to reduce game lag and latency. Some have created high-quality connections to allow for connectivity from anywhere in the world. The only problem with online gaming is the prevalence of cheats and latency, which affect overall game experiences played over the web.
Matches can be set over the internet by way of relays, i.e QuakeNet. Now, players can simply go inside the game client and look for players to battle in-client. An example of this is Battle.net, which was integrated within the Starcraft and Warcraft series. Consoles followed suit and made their own automated matchmaking services in the form of the Playstation Network and Xbox Live. All competitors match up and find each other in a game server.
Local Area Network
Competitions were played by connecting computers via LAN early in eSports’ life, as it afforded a high-quality experience with little to no lag. LANs promote a fairer way to play a game because everyone is present and accounted for. The physical presence also promote camaraderie and social atmosphere in both small and large-scale LAN events.
The spectator mode feature allows people to peek inside a game that’s in full swing. Game developers may add a dedicated observing platform for “spectators” in an e-Sport. People can simply log in and watch their favorite players play or watch for entertainment and expanding game knowledge. Some of the more notable games that have spectator modes are Counter-Strike, DOTA 2, Starcraft II, League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
With the rise of eSports come eSports Consulting. The fantastic world of eSports is growing by the minute, and it needs an expert to build the organizations and the professional players themselves to grow with it. A good eSports consultant brings in the skills, the knowledge and the networking needed to establish a deeper knowledge in this emerging mega-market.