[WCS Global Finals 2014/The International Finals 2014 – Worlds Finals 2014 – Credit Blizzard Entertainment/WCS/Valve/Riot Games/LCS/jeyopo]
While other sports have been established for generations, dating all the way back to when barbaric gladiatorial battles in the Colosseum were the ESPN of the day. Competitive gaming has been around since only the early 70’s, hundreds of people would turn up to a single event and battle it out to see who could get the high score in any particular game. eSports remained the same up until the 90’s and the birth of the Internet. This opened a whole new world to gamers, one where they could easily compete with a seemingly endless amount of players without so much as having to leave the bedroom.
[Space Invaders Championship ’81 – Credit Newscom]
The 90’s saw some of the best game releases to date and Ultimate Doom LAN parties and speedruns were the hot topic of the day. Between ’96 and ’99, game releases such as “Quake,” “Super Smash Bros“, “WarCraft II“, and “StarCraft Brood War” began to shape what we know as esports today.
When the clock struck twelve on January 1st 2000, it also turned a new chapter in the world of online competition. Not only did we see the idea of practicing a video game become a very real and plausible idea, we also saw events grow directly because of it. Whereas before people had competed for as little as a few hundred dollars, or to get their name in the Guinness Book of World Records, now they were duking it for serious cash prizes. Though there always were rather large and serious tournaments they became much more frequent and more publicized between 2000 and 2010. Going from around a dozen a year in 2000 to over 260 estimated competitions annually in 2010. This gave players a legitimate chance to practice full-time, get sponsors, and set the final foundations.
[WCS Global Finals BlizzCon 2014 – Credit Blizzard Entertainment/WCS]
So where does this leave us today? We’ve seen giants rise in StarCraft 2, the biggest RTS in gaming right now. The battle for MOBA dominance between “League of Legends” and “DotA II”, as well as the rise, fall, and re-rise of “Counter-Strike Source” through to “Global Offensive”. League of Legends’ Championship Series Finals was viewed by over 32,000,000 people worldwide. Starcraft’s World Championship Finals was held in front of a sold out Anaheim Convention Centre and to 150,000 concurrent viewers during the live final show. Last but not least we also saw the biggest prize pool in eSports history coming in at over $10,000,000 for DotA 2’s The International 4.
Over the past forty years we’ve seen eSports grow from a homegrown backyard tournament lifestyle, into an international million dollar network that is rapidly becoming a behemoth in terms of global media. You can easily join in on the action by signing up to free-to-play games such as League of Legends or buying StarCraft II. But if you want to stay in the loop on what’s changing in the world of eSports, and what’s coming your way soon, follow us on @DingItTV for all the latest news on everything that’s anything on this ever-growing platform.
[LCS Worlds Finals 2013 – Credit Riot Games/LCS]
Jonathan ‘Tubbzie’ Tubb