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Articles: E-sports


Over the past twenty years, computer games have been transformed from games played by teenagers in their bedroom to an entire new sporting discipline. The advent of high speed internet has allowed gamers to play against each other in massive multiplayer games, and before long, E-Sports were born.

Electronic sports (E-sports) is a term for organized multiplayer video game tournaments. The types of games that have evolved into the arena of e-sports fall under one of the following genres: real-time strategy, fighting, first-person shooter, and multiplayer online battle arena.

Similar to most computing breakthroughs of the last couple of decades, e-sports first started at a U.S. university. The earliest competition occurred in October 1972 at Stanford University. The game was ‘Spacewar’. Interest in computer gaming grew amongst the youth of the day until 1983, when the U.S. National Video Game Team was created.

As the craze for computer gaming grew during the 1970s and 1980s, e-sports players and tournaments crossed in mainstream media including Life and Time, and computer games where even featured in big box office success of the day such as “War Games”. In the 1990s, games benefited from increasing internet connectivity, as more and more players were able to play against each other online. By the start of the 21st century, several TV shows started to host and broadcast e-sport tournaments.

E-sports have grown exponentially in the last 15 years with the increased global proliferation of broadband internet connectivity. Needless to say, e-sports are most popular in developed countries, since they tend to have the best and fastest internet speeds, which are much needed to participate in e-sports. E-sports are also phenomenally popular in South Korea, where in 2014, the League of Legends World Championship happened in Seoul and had 40,000 fans in attendance.

The field of e-sports is constantly evolving as new games are released and gain popularity amongst players. Currently, there is a vast array of games in the genre, and some of the most popular are: League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Smite, Hearthstone and StarCraft II. Coverage of e-sports tends to be mainly transmitted via the medium of live internet streaming.

Participants in E-sports

Since e-sports are not overtly physically demanding, everyone is allowed to participate in play against each other regardless of gender or age. However, it is worth noting that 84% of participants are men, and the biggest represented age group in the e-sports community is 18-34 olds.

A unique feature of E-sports is that there are no unified fields of play; these games are so varied that each one can have its own unique requirements. Most e-sports tournaments take part in conference centers with many computer terminals, or players can even take part in some big events from the comfort of their own home. The main basic equipment requirement for taking part in e-sports is a high performance gaming computer, and a high speed internet connection or LAN network.

Due to the variety in the games that fall under the umbrella of e-sports, each one has its own unique method for starting the game, but as a general rule, e-sports have a countdown timer for the start of play.

Rules of e-sports

E-sports encompasses many games and each game has its own rules and regulations; however, there are several rules that tend to be present across the industry. One of the biggest and most important rules used in e-sports is that all players must be playing the same version of the game, and that modifications to the game are not permitted. This is because different versions and modifications can severely influence game play and tactics. Additionally, most e-sports tournaments insist that good ethical conduct and sportsmanship is practiced by all of the players.

Each game in e-sports has its own unique set of tactics and strategies, that affect the ebb and flow of the game; however, an underlying theme in most e-sports is that the key to success lies in achieving a positional or in game resource advantage.

Professional E-sports

There is no school for becoming a professional gamer. The road to pro gaming revolves around practice and more practice, entering tournaments, and once a player starts winning matches and tournaments, they can turn pro. Depending on the type of game, most matches and tournaments are either team or individual events.

Tournament structure is heavily dictated by the nature of the game itself; however, most tournaments are structured as a knockout elimination between teams or between individuals. Alternatively, tournaments can be a round robin hybrid, with a group stage then a knockout stage. It really depends on the game in question. Currently, there are many tournaments held around the world. Some of the more prominent are Battle.Net World Championship Series, Dreamhack, Global StarCraft II League, and Major League Gaming. These tournaments and e-sports do not have a single unified governing body, due to the fluid nature of the games and competitions, and most tournaments have their own unique set of rules.

Betting on E-sports

Betting on e-sports is a wide open field due to the variable nature of the games, and there are many betting options available to the punter. The most common bet in e-sports is a straight bet on the winner of a match. Additionally, there are other popular bets which are available, such as which team or player gets ‘first blood’. Some games have automated characters, and bets can be placed on which team or player will kill this character first. Other possible bets available are on which team or player will reach a number of kills or points first.