Author's note: This Saturday is Gaming Day at Greenwich Library. In celebration, I thought it would interesting to give you the inside scoop on the rise of eSports.
$9,407,519 (and rising every day!). No, I didn't just throw out some random number. In fact, that number is the prize pool for the 2014 DOTA 2 International.1 This is fascinating for two reasons:
1. The DOTA 2 International is an eSport
2. The prize pool is crowd-funded (upwards of 3 million people have contributed to the prize pool, by my own calculations).
Now, look at another popular eSport called League of Legends. The live stream video of the last League of Legends World Championship garnered 32 million viewers.2
Competitive video games, commonly referred to as eSports, may have once been a fringe hobby, but now they grow more legitimate every day. The eSports craze has kicked into overdrive as more millennials are watching television shows and sports on computers and smartphones rather than on television sets. Logan, an avid eSports fan highlighted the draw of the eSports, by stating:
I really like the direction that eSports is heading. I feel like over the last few years it's really evolved. It has really grown into a full blown sport...What makes them different from other sports, however, is how interactive they are...The way the games work, it's even possible to exactly replicate [within the normal version of the video game] what the professionals do...They kind of set the standard and everybody has a blast either trying to copy them or create their own strategies. I think that eSports is becoming more mainstream because gaming in general is becoming more popular. In the past gamers and geeks were essentially synonymous, but nowadays gamers are everywhere...Many people played sports, but not everybody [is] naturally gifted in these fields...These people...now finally have a sport to play, and we are enjoying every moment of it!
Sure, eSports are not on par with sports in terms of payment of competitors or raw numbers of viewers. However, the United States Census Bureau has reported that 74.8% of U.S. households have Internet connection.3 Thus, there are plenty of new potential fans to gain. Who knows, the next eSports fan-- or even all-star competitor-- could be you! Why wait any longer? Join in the fun!