Over the past few years e-sports have steadily grown in popularity. From games like Street Fighter and Call of Duty to new franchises like Hearthstone and Overwatch, there is no doubt that people love to watch their favorite games played at a professional level. Lots of games are now vying to see who will be the next big e-sport. Even Nintendo have staked their claim on the e-sports gaming scene with Splatoon for the yet to be released Nintendo Switch. Just how and why has e-sports gotten so popular, though? Let’s take a look, shall we?
Competitive games have been around for a long time now and they have always been popular. However, the rise of the internet has given way to a whole new way of viewing and experiencing games. Plenty of people get as much enjoyment watching professional and semi-professional matches of their favorite games as people who enjoy watching regular sports like football and rugby. Lots of the most popular e-sports like Dota 2 (with over 13 million players) and League of Legends (with more than 100 million players) require large amounts of strategy and coordination in order to win. The game is true for a regular team sport. It is only natural then that people would flock to watch e-sports in the same way they do to more traditional sports. Thanks to the rise of e-sports lots of people can earn a living playing a game they love. Fans can follow their favorite competitors and watch their matches via Twitch or other services. They can also bet on the outcome of specific matches. The Betway Arena King of the Hill competition team Virtus Pro were clear favorites with 3/20 odds (odds taken on the 27th March) for their match against Team Spirit. This makes each match all that more interesting and intense experience.
Newcomers are joining the e-sports scene all the time and the industry is always growing. Hearthstone saw huge success as one of the few popular, competitive digital card games. Lots of people participate in tournaments to win real world money and reign as a champion of the game. Even smaller more niche titles like Duelyst have their steadily growing e-sports. Duelyst is a card game similar to Hearthstone, but all the battles take part on a strategy grid which adds a whole new dimension to the game. It hasn’t seen the same success as Hearthstone yet, but then again it doesn’t have the backing of one of the largest games developers in world – Blizzard.
There is something to be said about large companies trying to develop the next big e-sport and how they are pushing the smaller developers aside. Rocket League has its own tournaments and leagues, but it doesn’t receive the same coverage and marketing as games like Overwatch and Starcraft 2. Rocket League in terms of sales has done remarkably well and is a great game about car football. The e-sports scene is comparatively small but active. Next time when you are looking for an e-sport to watch or maybe even take part in, why not look at some of the smaller games and see what is happening there.