WHAT IS ESPORTS AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

WHAT IS ESPORTS AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

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The first move on the road to understanding sport is a matter of definition. Through the years, the emergence of competitive gaming has given rise to numerous myths and misconceptions about the exact existence of this phenomenon. But when you look beyond the smoke and the mirrors, the truth is astoundingly easy. Esports is a type of competition focused on video games.

Such events are not completely new either.

Quake, a game widely referred to as the grandfather of sports, was published in 1996. A year later, Denis "Thresh" Fong won the Ferrari 328 in the Red Annihilation Quake tournament – a race that went down in history as the world’s first sporting event. Following that, sports games like StarCraft: Brood War, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Warcraft III have all contributed to the growth of competitive gaming.

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WHAT MAKES A GAME AN ESPORT?

It’s no secret that the gaming industry is over-saturated. Hundreds – if not tens of hundreds – of games are published every year, but the cumulative list of sports games remains surprisingly short. The fact is, not every game has what it takes to be successful. And no matter the style or the genre, there are three basic qualities that a game requires to become a sport.

1. SKILL EXPRESSION

At its heart, games are supposed to be enjoyable. Some developers interpret this as a call to smooth out the edges and to make the gameplay as seamless as possible for the player. Nonetheless, the best sports games are almost directly contrary to this line of thought.
Granted, they have certain elements that could be considered fun, but they do offer straightforward and easy avenues for the good players to differentiate themselves from the poor ones. That’s, there’s always room to use skill and game knowledge to get an edge over your opponents. And while this aspect does not allow the best experience for the losers, it is also a critical component of a positive result of an esports title.

2. POPULARITY

Let’s face it: there’s no such thing as an unpopular esports titme. Sure, you could pick up an obscure Steam game and put in enough hours to master it, but there’ll only be so many people interested in watching you compete if the entire player base is a few hundred players. Similarly, you won’t get a lot of top-tier talent when players don’t have any opportunities to perfect their skills.

This means that a game needs to build up a casual follow- to be competitive. Not only that, but daily fans need to be interested in watching high-level games or keeping up with their favourite teams and personalities. Such a mix is hard to come by, and it’s not shocking that the list of sports is still short: just look at the Fortnite World Cup numbers or The International.

3. VIEWING EXPERIENCE

Even if you reach the gold mine to create a famous and descriptive title, your game still has to be enjoyable for the viewers. After all, you need to give the fans a reason to keep watching the show. Very few things do that, as well as entertaining very fast-paced gameplay.

There’s a matter of clarification, too. Many contemporary games master graphics and animations, but they fall short when it comes to presenting the action in a simple and concise manner. It’s hard to get interested in the next big sports if you don’t grasp what’s going on on the television, so competitive gamers seem to put a lot of focus on fine-tuning their viewing experience.

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