Esports has evolved a lot since it started and it continues to be one of the best and most exciting events in the world. It’s considered as a professional sport nowadays and the players are considered as professional athletes. Esports has gained so much popularity that now it’s televised on channels like ESPN and TBS.
The sport has gained so much relevance that there was a whole bunch of award categories for the sport in the 2018 Game Awards. The best esports player was awarded to Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, a player of fighting games. He is known for his astonishing ability to master a new game or a new character quickly.
Sure, esports is doing extremely well nowadays, however, not everyone knows how it all started. I’m gonna take you back to the time when there was no esports or even competitive gaming and then back to where we are today.
The First Home Video Game
The first game ever created was Pong. Not the pong which was released by Atari in the 1970s, but a game similar to that. It was a simple two-dimensional table tennis sports game consisting of one ball and two paddles. The game was invented in 1958 by a physicist named William Higinbotham and was presented at a Brookhaven National Laboratory open house. After that Atari made Pong in 1972 which became explosively popular and sold a lot of units.
The First Competitive Gaming Events
The first ever recorded competitive gaming event was the Spacewar event which was held at Stanford University in 1972. Spacewar was a space combat game and was developed in the year 1962. The prize of the event was a one-year subscription of the rolling stones magazine and the winner was Bruce Baumgart.
Soon enough in 1980, Atari held the Space Invaders Championship. It was an event that gathered over 10,000 players and video games got the exposure that they needed.
Competitive Gaming Hits The Television
In 1980, a significant event happened in competitive video gaming when Twin Galaxies was created by Walter Day. It was the only organization which was recording the world records in video gaming at that time. This generated a buzz around the globe and people started competing for the highest scores in games.
A player by the name of Billy Mitchel became famous for his mastery in various arcade games such as the highly popular Donkey Kong and Pac Man. That’s when television networks decided to grab a piece of the cake with competitive gaming shows like Starcade (United States) and First Class (United Kingdom).
The Golden Era Of Gaming
After the release of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1985 and the release of SNES (Super NES) in 1991, the gaming industry was never the same. NES and SNES took graphics, controls, and gameplay to the next level. Nintendo had to face tough competition from Sega when their Sega Genesis released in 1989. This is when the war of consoles started and players got to play classic games like Sonic: The Hedgehog (Sega) and Super Mario Bros (Nintendo).
Nintendo contributed a lot in competitive gaming with the Nintendo World Championship that toured the US in 1990 before holding the championship in Universal Studios, CA. In 1994, Nintendo held another championship to promote the SNES. The finals of the championship were held in San Diego, CA.
How The Internet Improved Competitive Gaming
When the Internet started gaining immense popularity in the 1990s, PC games like Counter-Strike, Warcraft, and Quake used the technology to connect players all over the world to play these competitive games.
Gaming leagues of the 1990s such as the Professional Gamers League, Quakecon, and Cyberathelete Professional league proved to be the first leagues in competitive gaming. So, it’s safe to say that the 1990s proved to be the decade in which esports was born.
The Unstoppable Growth Of Esports In The 21st Century
The esports leagues really started to benefit in the early 2000s as technology started growing at an accelerating rate. With better technology, there were better games and better connectivity which led to the rise of online competitive gaming with better machines and servers for games like Counter-Strike and Warcraft.
Another major spectacle in the competitive gaming world came as the Worldwide Webgames Championship was held by FUN Technologies in the year 2006. 71 players competed in that competition for a whopping $1 Million grand prize. The winner of the tournament was Kavitha Yalavarthi and she was awarded the grand prize.
Even Nintendo made a comeback in esports with the Wii Games: Summer held in 2010. The tournament helped in making Super Smash Bros one of the most popular esports games of it’s time. The event attracted 400,000 participants and it went on for a month.
Esports started to gain the popularity it deserved in 2011 when Twitch decided to give esports a platform so that spectators all over the world can enjoy the events just like any other sports. Twitch came at a time when esports was only popularly televised as a sport in South Korea, however, wasn’t available for the whole world to enjoy real-time.
The Position Of Esports Today
Today, esports is considered as one of the most popular sports and the players are considered as professional athletes. With a huge range of games and categories, esports proves to be one of the most competitive and versatile sports. The most popular esports games are WOW (World Of Warcraft), LOL (League Of Legends), Dota 2 (Defense Of The Ancients), and many other games from various categories.
Esports has become very popular and it’s events are now televised on ESPN and TBS. The players are paid monthly salaries ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 and they even get the prize money for winning a tournament. Today esports is just like any other sports.
The Future Of Esports
Esports events prove to be one of the most exciting events held in the modern era and with the increasing popularity, it’s safe to say that esports will keep on growing at an accelerating rate. And it is for sure that the future of esports is very bright.
Well, the most important thing is that we are gamers and we’ll never stop loving the religion of gaming!