BLOGPOST: E-sports: the hype is real
It seems like every time you turn around, there’s someone competing in online gaming. At first it just seems like a new way of getting players of the same game together – without physically getting together. But having said that, gaming competitions have been going on for a very long time. The internet has simply made it so much easier to set up and monitor them. So much so, that esport competitions are becoming some of the largest organised sporting events in the world.
Ever since Netrek was credited by Wired Magazine as “the first online sports game” in 1993, the list has been steadily growing. Perhaps not surprisingly, South Korea has become the ‘Capital’ of the esports world. But of course, esports exists wherever the internet will allow. Such competitions have changed from amateur based, with some prizemoney exceptions, into some of the richest sports prize competitions that ordinary people can enter and win, largely without moving too far geographically.
So big is the popularity, that Esports Nation (ESN), and ESFI World are independent news organizations specifically dedicated to electronic sports. Of course, the main media for delivery is still the internet, with live streaming of competitions, not just for competitors, but also for the spectator audience. There are even commentators – and they can find themselves with a full time job. But it’s not just in Asian countries where the fad has become part of broadcast situations.
TV2, the largest private television broadcaster in Norway, broadcasts eSports across the country. Not long ago,TV 2 moved into a partnership with Norwegian organization called ‘House of Nerds’ to bring a full season of eSports competition with an initial lineup of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and StarCraft. But it’s not just the boys with toys. In 2013, the audience and player enthusiasm of esports yielded around 30% of the totals. Some women have actually turned professional alongside their mere male counterparts and much earlier than traditionally in emerging sports franchising.
So if you thought that online gaming was just something to sharpen up your co-ordination and reflexes, you might want to consider the enormous commercial benefits that are being sized up, put up for online competition and even gaining broadcast rights as professionals rake in the fortunes. In the years ahead, esports is likely to be one of the largest digital channels around; and when you think about it, the digital transmission era is already upon us. One can see enormous growth every day. Which channel will be playing at your place?