The Rise of Spectator E-Sports

by Staff & Contributors

Back in the day when classic consoles and retro gaming arcade machines were the biggest and most exciting things on the market no-one could have possibly dreamed of one day having the opportunity to get paid to sit around and play video games all day long.

However, this almost unobtainable pipedream has become a reality for many avid gamers who have whittled away hours and hours immersing themselves in this virtual world, turning their passionate pastime into a full time profession and their career path has attracted millions of spectators and admirers.

Professional gamers across the world now compete in organized events where they come face to face with other pro gamers thanks to the advent of e-sports. Some of the world’s most popular games are now played in e-sport arenas in front of live viewers; once the only way to make money through online gaming was by surfing on paddy power bingo or casinos, a number of budding enthusiasts are now taking home annual salaries that will eclipse the earnings of most of the general population.

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It takes us back to a time when the likes of the UK’s ground-breaking television show ‘Gamesmaster’, that aired on Channel 4 in the 1990’s, were hugely popular and various contestants would take on challenges in front of an expectant audience. The only difference now is that the winning competitors can walk away with huge cash prizes and the in-house spectators now watch on in their millions. Various e-sport events can be streamed online but it’s the events that take place in huge stadium venues that really draw in the crowds, all there to cheer on their favourite players and witness the live gaming action. In 2013 it was estimated that more than 70 million around the world were tuning in to watch live competitive gaming which is quite an incredible figure.

Professional gamers are fast becoming recognised internationally as renowned sporting figures. Much like professional poker players who have helped turned what they do into a multimillion dollar industry, these pro gamers are treated like superstars and take what they do very seriously indeed. Gamers who compete in multiplayer online battle arena game DOTA 2 tournaments for example can fight it out for the chance to pick up a slice of a massive $2.8 million prize pot. And that sum is very much worth fighting for.

With the gaming market constantly evolving and the mobile gaming market in particular set to overtake console sales it’s incredible to see just how vast this industry has become. Instead of traditional professions like dentistry or law we could soon have students in higher and further education looking to secure a career as a professional gamer.

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