Competitive gaming has progressed from a small contest on a university campus to multiple national events occurring year-round. What is competitive gaming you might ask?
Competitive gaming, commonly called eSports, finds its root back in the early 1970’s at Stanford University with a video game called Spacewar! on the first computers of the PDP series.
eSports immediately obtained notoriety, with features in Life and Time magazine from many different tiny tournaments after Stanford’s Spacewar!.
Once the 1990’s rolled around, bigger scaled tournaments began hosted by gaming companies. Nintendo of America hosted its own Nintendo World Cup which toured across America. Tournaments were officially established in leagues in the late 90’s with Cyberathlete Professional League, QuakeCon, and Professional Gamers League.
eSports began globally beginning with South Korea in the early 2000. Once the employment rate in South Korea dropped in 1997, Koreans spent time playing video games. South Korea created its own leagues with the Korean e-Sports Association, and Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism publicizing tournaments in the country.[t1]
A bandwagon effect began to sprout and smaller companies decided to advertise these tournaments and events. Arenas strictly for eSports tournaments began popping up in 2015 with the eSports Arena in Santa Ana and success hasn’t ceased since.
eSports hasn’t peaked yet, with bigger companies such as Progressive sponsoring large Super Smash Brothers tournaments.[t2]
The competitive scene hosts a variety of age ranges from teenagers to young adults. Young people are receiving more of a chance to be exposed to gaming at a competitive level with certain ESPN channels streaming these tournaments.
Websites like Twitch and YouTube host live streams with popular video games being streamed all over the globe at any time. Being able to watch a personal hobby grow into a means of making money is exhilarating.
I’m excited to see eSports continue excelling and potentially become a career for talented individuals.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Super Smash Brothers for Wii U tournaments progress from small local tournaments to large national tournaments. Since 2014, I’ve watched Super Smash Brother tournaments religiously on YouTube and Twitch
I have thought about competing as a career path and watched peers create a tournament scene for Northwest Ohio. However, to generate a stable income to live off, you would have to win multiple national tournaments in your region.
Top players who win national tournaments consistently still suffer from making stable incomes to pay bills. Most eSports players must stream almost daily on Twitch to make ends meet.
Since the prize money for every tournament varies depending on the sponsor and number of professional participants, I hope tournaments begin to find some consistency in prize money.
I want a career with a consistent payout, a career with the amount of money I need to pay my bills. eSports continues to excel and, one day, become a career for those talented individuals.