Video games are fast becoming one of the biggest forms of entertainment in the world, with signs indicating that the industry may overtake films in the not too distant future. This is rather staggering, given that video games are a relatively new industry, and movie-making is an art form that has been around since the turn of the century.
From first person shooters that have players knee deep in blood, to tactical strategy games that demand skill and concentration, the video game industry is a broad one. The players of video games, often referred to as gamers, are generally fairly passionate about the games they play. Hence, it is no real surprise that eSports has started to become popular.
eSports refers to any video game that is participated in on a professional level. It doesn’t matter the game, only that the game is played in strict eSports circumstances. By all means Mine Sweeper could be an eSport, if you could find enough people that would want to see it played professionally. The really popular games, however, are the obvious ones; the ones that have the most fans.
First Person Shooters
The first person shooter genre, or FPS, exploded into mass popularity with Doom, which even by modern standards was a rather shockingly violent and disturbing game, but it set the scene for smash hits that followed.
A game viewed from the eyes of the game character, first person shooters are known for fast paced action, heavy on the taking over and dodging bullets mechanics. In eSports, teams of players generally work to eliminate the other team, sometimes to achieve an objective, other times just for the body count. Counter Strike Global Offensive, Call of Duty and Team Fortress 2 are some of the most popular eSport first person shooters.
Some say fighting games only really got popular when Mortal Kombat entered the scene, but they seem to forget that Street Fighter 2 was around long before that. To the untrained eye, fighting games are chaotic and difficult to follow, but those familiar with the genre know that fighting games require insane reflexes, incredible hand eye coordination, and nerves of titanium.
In eSports, fighting games often have the most vocal audiences, some of which are even known to break into football chants when the action is especially exciting. Popular eSport fighting games include, of course, the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat franchises, as well as Injustice and Killer Instinct.
Real Time Strategy
Real time strategy games, or RTS, are more slow paced then other genres, involving players having to build up bases, construct units, and eventually destroy the opponent’s base over a period of time. The RTS genre is one of the oldest in video games, and has lost some degree of popularity as video games have evolved. There is still a die-hard fan base, however, that lives and breathes Starcraft 2, one of the grandfathers of modern eSports.
As with all forms of sport, eSports can be bet on in the expected fashion. It is generally a case of predicting which player, or group of players, you think will win, and the majority of online bookmakers now accept eSports bets. It should be kept in mind that eSport betting is still relatively young, however, in comparison to most other sports, and that predicting winners can be a deceptive business.
The nature of video games can lead to some unexpected and unpredictable results, especially in the fighting genre. This unpredictability does indeed result in some exciting matches, but don’t be surprised if what seemed like a match with obvious results throws some serious curve balls, making it all the more exciting to wager on.
eSports is rapidly growing, spreading across the globe, gathering fans, and fast becoming a new powerhouse in the word of sports. All indications say eSports will continue to grow, and eventually have an equal fan base to more mainstream events like football or rugby. As it stands, however, the eSport community cannot currently hold a candle to the traditional sporting events.
eSports will also likely evolve as technology evolves, and many are already predicting that virtual reality will play a big part in future events. As it stands, no virtual reality games are considered for eSporting, mostly due to the limited games currently available on virtual reality systems. This is very likely to change in the near future s VR and AR become more popular and easily accessible.
A spokesman for MLG, Major League Gaming, has said that the biggest challenge facing eSports is attracting fans that are not currently playing video games themselves. Given that the new generation is all but obsessed with gaming, however, it seems likely that attracting non-game playing fans wont be much of a problem, given that the majority of youth are already gamers.