Few would have foreseen this development, but eSports events began to have an audience, and it was the beginning of a new era in the industry.
The so-called “Moore’s Law”, i.e. the rapid growth of computing power, as well as the development of computer graphics, has enabled the emergence of a myriad of games with
- high picture quality;
- 3D animation;
- fantastic characters.
These games were played on PCs or consoles, first on Sony PlayStation and later on Microsoft Xbox and mobile devices. With the development of the internet, it became possible to compete with friends. And the gaming business began to resemble software production – new game releases were released every year.
Gradually tournaments began to be held
The first competition is usually considered a team tournament on Spacewar, held in 1972 at Stanford University. By the year 2000, amateur and professional eSports tournaments were already attracting players from all over the world.
The games of those days were based mainly on real-life sports, with athletes or teams acting as prototype characters. Also popular were shooters such as CSGO Vulkan.
Popularity of Online Broadcasting
The term cybersport in relation to computer gaming competitions became more and more common, and games that are cybersport disciplines became more popular. The popularity of online broadcast tournaments grew by itself, without additional efforts or promotional strategies.
In 2011, Twitch was launched. By the time Amazon turned its attention to it in 2014, Twitch had already managed to aggregate over 15 billion minutes of content and amass an audience size of 55 million. The deal with Amazon was worth $970 million.
In 2017, according to esportsearnings.com, the most popular disciplines were
- Call of Duty;
- Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2);
- Starcraft 2 betting.
Most of them represent the MOBA genre – a complex strategy in real-time. Players control virtual heroes with a range of abilities.
A typical tournament involves five-player teams at tables set up with computers, keyboards, and headphones. Some disciplines involve one-on-one play. Fans can listen to the commentator in the room or on-air, and broadcasts on Twitch also allow for interaction with other viewers and questions from players.
Most popular eSports game developers
There are several game development companies. The largest of these is Tencent, which owns Riot Games, the developer of LoL. Activision Blizzard is behind such games as
- Call of Duty;
Take-Two Interactive is the publisher of Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K. Electronic Arts, founded in 1982, release Madden NFL and FIFA.
New players are also entering the market, such as PUBG. It is a division of South Korean company Bluehole, which sensationally launched PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in 2017.
Main view segment
The popularity of the Twitch platform, as well as cybersport broadcasts on YouTube and on TBS, has drawn attention to the fan audience and its particular characteristics. According to research firm Nielsen, the main segment of viewers is millennials, 70% of whom are male.