ESPORTS AND THIS GENERATION

In this modern generation, many different forms of media have grown. However, no growth has been as drastic or as sudden as the growth of eSports. The scene has grown from a few very loyal followers to an international phenomenon that is becoming increasingly more professional with every passing year.  The main reasons eSports has grown exponentially during this generation are the rapid expansion in streaming technologies, this generation’s new-found obsession with competitive gaming, and large corporations beginning to sponsor teams, players.

Far too often people hear eSports and immediately they think of “professional gaming” which at its core isn’t wrong. Michael Wagner, a professor at Drexel University’s College of Media Arts & Design defines eSports as “an area of sport activities in which people develop and train mental or physical abilities in the use of information and communication technologies.”

The growth of eSports over the past 5 years has been simply staggering. In 2009 the league of legend championship series. was created to allow the highest tier of League of Legends (LoL) players to compete on a professional level. At the beginning of its run the LCS only had 6 teams and next to no-one tuned in to see the matches. The first world championship for LoL consisted of the 10 players and 1 commentator at a gaming convention in Germany. A mere 4 years later the LoL world championship sold out a 40,000 person stadium and attracted over 11.5 million viewers via online broadcast. This is merely one instance of an eSport making into the public eye in a big way. The world championships for DOTA 2 had nearly 6 million viewers concurrently and the prize pool for the tournament was a staggering 10 million dollars which was entirely raised by its fans.

The growth of eSports in recent years has its roots in live-streaming. Streaming gameplay is a relatively new phenomenon that has exploded in recent years, attracting hundreds of thousands of unique viewers daily (Tassi, 2013). Twitch TV, a live video streaming platform, has been at the forefront of this success with 34 million unique users a month (All about Twitch, 2013). Streaming can consist of major tournaments and events, but generally is made up of a single player or team that broadcasts its games and chats, explaining its game style and strategies and giving advice to viewers. This two-way communication fosters a unique relationship between the streamer and its spectators (Kaytoue et al., 2012). 

eSports have grown into something almost no-one could’ve predicted. Since 2009 eSports consumption has become one of the fastest growing forms of media and shows little to no signs of slowing. This predominantly online community is one of the closest and by far the most interactive fan-base in today’s market and this helps to ensure its continued success. As we sit here in 2014 we have no idea where the eSports scene may go within the next five years but live-streaming, our generation’s competitiveness and corporate sponsors have made this scene into what it is today.

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