eSports | A look at an explosive, billion-dollar industry | HowToBet.com
esports
eSports

Esports 🕹 - Electronic Sports

Esports, which is short for electronic sports, has multiplayer video game competitions between professional players. There can be individual or team competitions playing various games against each other, and it is often streamed for spectators to watch and even wager on. 

There have been video game competitions for decades, but with the advent of live streaming in the last 10 years, esports' popularity surged. After 2010 esports took off, and many video game developers started to sponsor esports tournaments where the prize money is now significant. 

Typically, the games played in esports competitions are multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), first-person shooter (FPS), fighting, card games, battle royales, as well as real-time strategy (RTS) ones. 

Some of the titles of games that are often used in the esports competitions the world over include League of Legends, Dota, Counter-Strike, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros., and StarCraft. There are esports sponsored teams in a league such as the Overwatch League. While many debates if esports is really a sport, there have been talks within the International Olympic Committee to add esports to the Olympics. 

Online Betting: Esports 

While many competitions for esports are played and streamed online, it has also become a big bet for online sportsbooks. Some of the most prominent esports leagues around the world will offer odds for esports events with various betting markets available. Online esports betting is still in its infancy, and some state-regulated sites in the United States have begun offering esports odds. 

There are not as many betting options for esports like there are for other popular sports today. However, the popularity of esports is growing significantly, and because of that, more sportsbooks are offering esports betting odds

The esports industry has projections that are through the roof when it comes to esports viewership. That is the main reason that sportsbooks the world over now have esports competition odds posted. 

Rules and Gameplay 

The rules and gameplay will differ, considering there are many different leagues and tournaments, and they have their own sets of rules. The rules and gameplay for esports leagues tournaments will depend on the game and the country of origin and hosting. 

There are some countries where players need to be at least 18 years of age. Some esports leagues allow for gamers 18 and older, while others do not have an age limit. However, if a player is under 18, they will need their parent's permission to travel to the tournament. 

Many of the games on tournaments and leagues can last hours or even days, so many leagues and tournaments have tested for performance-enhancing drugs. 

There is no one set of rules for esports, but there is a certain conduct that should be followed by all players in esports events. 

The league that runs a specific esports event has the right to decide the rules to guarantee fair play in the event. 

Each player or team in an esports event has to behave in a respectful way towards other players, event officials, viewers, and partners. The players in the event have to uphold high standards to represent their sponsors and teams in the best manner. This applies to behavior while the game is going on and when live chatting during the event. 

In a basic guideline for conduct rules by players they have to show: 

  • Compassion to other players in the event, treating them in a respectful manner and not using negative language during competition. 
  • Esports players must show integrity in being honest and playing in a fair manner. 
  • Esports players cannot take part in harassment or use hate speech in any form. In terms of hate, speech players need to abstain from offensive behavior, verbal abuse in terms of sex, gender, race, sexual orientation, physical appearance, or religion. 
  • Players cannot participate in spamming, hijacking, raiding, or any disruptive behavior of streams or social media. 
  • Players cannot take part in "doxing," which is posting or making a threat to post other people's personal identification information. 

These are just a few of the typical conduct rules for esports. When a player does violate the rules of the tournament, they can penalize points. For more excessive offenses, players can also be disqualified, and if the action is deemed extremely excessive, they can be banned from future events. 

Many of the rules of conduct for the players has to do with the in-game chat, guestbooks, forums, match or news comments, and game ID's. 

Obviously, for the game rules, they will differ depending on which game is being played at the esports event. 

How the Teams Work 

Esports teams are those that have sponsors and take part in esports events. The higher paying the team sponsor, the more they will have staff for the teams, such as managers and coaches. 

The number of players on a team depends on the game, and usually, there are five players per team. Just like other sports teams, esports teams are similar, oftentimes, having backup players. 

Depending on the game, different players can be used to do different things when playing the game. This forces division of the mechanics of the game and its features. There are "roster titles" that differ depending on a player's job in the game. It is common to see such roster titles as: 

  • Damage-dealer/asserter
  • Healer/supporter
  • Scouter/sneaker
  • Defender/repeller
  • Specialist/magic-user. 

Strategy and Tactics 

The strategy and tactics for esports tournaments and leagues are determined by the game being played and the team format. As seen above, there can be different jobs for team members in roster titles. There are also different strategies used by the players to outwit and beat their opponents. Just a few examples of these strategies and a brief explanation are: 

  • Playing the Meta – Never deviating from the obvious style of playing the game. 
  • Dragon Under the Ice – Playing the esports game in an unpredictable manner. 
  • Ghost With a Mask – Showing one thing in a game and then doing the opposite. 
  • Dangling Live Bait – Baiting an opponent to have them make a mistake, which is basically exposing an opponent's weakness and then making them pay for it. 
  • The Obfuscating Hyena – a psychological ploy making a bad play with no benefit to confuse an opponent. 

History of Esports 

The history of video games goes back to the 1950s where Josef Kates designed an arcade game of the classic tic-tac-toe for the 1950 Canadian National Exhibition. The first esports event took place in 1972 at Stanford University, where students competed against one another playing Spacewar, where the winner received a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. 

In 1980 the first major video game competition took place in the Space Invaders Championship, which had 10,000 players and received a lot of media attention. In the 1980s, some video game companies would record the high scorers for their games. 

Twin Galaxies was one of those companies, and they not only printed high scores but also put those scores in the Guinness Book of World Records. 

In the 1990s, the rise of internet-connected gamers from around the globe, allowing for competitive online gaming. With internet connectivity and companies like Blockbuster and Nintendo, they began to sponsor video game tournaments. 

In 1997 there was the Red Annihilation tournament where players competed playing the popular Quake game, and this event is seen as the first esports tournament. The winner received the lead developer of Quake John Cormack's Ferrari. 

A few weeks after the Red Annihilation tournament, one of the first gaming leagues was established in Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), and they held their own tournament in 1998. At this time, more and more leagues began forming, and the CPL had a tournament in 1999 that offered $15,000 in prize money. 

After 2000 major international esports tournaments such as World Cyber Games and the Electronic Sports World Cup were launched. In 2002 Major League Gaming (MLG) was established, and that is still one of the biggest esports leagues in the world with the most prize money offered. 

In the later part of the decade saw the emergence of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games such as League of Legends came about, which gave esports a massive spike in popularity. 

When the esports tournaments began live streaming, on avenues such as Twitch, the money took off for esports. People from around the world could take part by watching the events live and even interacting with players. The advent of live streaming for esports brought in a significant amount of sponsorship dollars to the sport. 

Nowadays, there are tournaments and leagues worldwide with millions up for grabs in prize money. Many of them are streamed live, and in 2020, there is an expected sports revenue of $1.1 billion. 

Wall of Fame 

It is hard to pinpoint a wall of fame for esports players, as they are usually linked to one game. For example, some of the top players in the world in their leagues playing that game include Matthew DeLisi (Overwatch), Lee Sang-Hyeok (League of Legends), and Anathan Pham (DOTA 2). 

Many of the top earners from esports are not the greatest players. For example, Tyler Blevins has a net worth of over $15 million, and most of that came ($10 million) from streaming on Twitch in 2018. When it comes to esports competitions, he earns around $3,500-10,000 per tournament, and most of his earnings come from advertising, sponsorships, and donations.

Distinctive Elements 

The main distinctive element for esports is that all the players play video games competing against one another. There can be tournaments and live or online events where fans can live stream the action. Not only that, but the fans can play the same games as the professional and rise in the ranks to be pro gamers. 

The influx of new technology always pushes esports into the next generation of gamers. New innovations in games, consoles, and overall internet connectivity pushes the envelope for the esports world, which is always changing. 

Esports has gone from competitions where there was a magazine giveaway to only a few decades later when esports has its top players being millionaires. In 2019, the total amount of prize money for esports was over $500 million. 

Statistics 

The statistics for esports have to deal with players' in-game stats for a specific game such as League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counterstrike, to name a few. Players have stats for how they are playing in the game, and they can also look at other player's stats while facing them in an event. 

The game will determine the stats, so if it is a combat game, there can be stats used such as kills and kill percentage, while in racing games, there can be times and average lap times. It all depends on the game, as many of them all have statistics within the game structure. 

Popularity and Cultural Impact 

The popularity of esports has exploded over the last decade, making some of the gamers rich and celebrities in the gaming world. The gaming world is no longer a niche, with so many people watching and playing popular games worldwide. 

The rise of streaming has also caused esports to be such a popular sport these days, with the fans able to watch events and even interact with players. 

The cultural impact of video games on society is huge these days, and movies have been made about gamers and certain games. The video game industry is worth billions around the world, which is why it is not surprising why esports is so popular these days.  

About Ayden Fahlstrom
Ayden Fahlstrom author profile

Ayden loves sports. There is no doubt about that. He is a walking calendar when it comes to the latest events in sports. He has grown into the passion of writing about them, and settled into his role as a writer after many freelancing jobs. He can write about any sport out there! This is the guy!

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