ESports: Taking the virtual world by storm () 08:56 PM CEST - Aug,23 2017
Unless you have been habiting the past five years or so inside a cave
in a remote location, the odds are that you have ran in to or even
taken part in eSports in one way or another.
The world of competitive gaming is currently booming in a near
uncontrollable pace and the industry is scrambling to maintain control
of it. For the past couple of years both the revenue and the audiences
have been growing between 40 and 50 percent annually, showing no signs
of slowing down anytime soon.
Games such as DotA 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and
League of Legends (LoL) have gathered immense popularity. If these
arenâ€™t to your liking, there is a plethora of choice on how to make
your living. Overwatch, Starcraft 2, Heartstone, Smite, Call of Duty,
Halo, Street Fighter and even a Mario Bros version Super Smash Bros.
Melee to name a few.
According to esportsearnings.com as many as 34 games have given out
more than a million USD in tournament prize money. The number one is
the final tournament of DotA 2, known as â€œThe Internationalâ€. In 2017
the prize pool was a sweltering $24,7 million, with the winners taking
home a cool $10,8 million. This means $2.17 million for each member of
More money and bigger sponsors has also brought a level of
professionalism. The top teams have their own training facilities where
they are well catered for alongside a steady, very healthy salary.
Something which most teenagers canâ€™t say that they have. From 2010 to
2017 the number of players who received prize money grew according to
one report from under 800 to nearly 9000. A vast majority of them
cannot be considered as full-time professionals, but it speaks volumes
of the growth eSports is enjoying.
One of the most eyebrow raising facts is how competitive gaming has
risen from being essentially a sub-culture to selling out stadiums in
such a brief time. In early 2017 the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice,
Poland set the attendance record for an eSports event with 173,000
visitors. Even more impressively, the event gathered a stunning 46
million unique viewers online. To compare, that is over 15 million more
than Trumpâ€™s inauguration ceremony managed to gather.
Therefore it isnâ€™t a surprise that among others, the betting industry
has taken keen interest on eSports and itâ€™s now one of the fastest
growing areas of betting. For now, cash gambling and fantasy eSports
are small in comparison to both in-game gambling with items, or â€œskin
gamblingâ€ and most regular gambling markets. However, a report of
gambling in eSports estimates that the market size would be in billions
already during 2017 and could reach over $10 billion by 2020.
With the potential being of this caliber, eSports dedicated betting
sites have started to appear and many major bookmakers such as Betway
have been investing heavily on eSports. Betway offered odds on 10
different eSports tournaments such as the world's biggest LAN party
DreamHack MalmÃ¶, ESL and ESG with up to 50+ markets being available in
the most popular matches in CS:GO, DotA 2 and LoL.
As the market has grown, so have the issues and threats to the health
of the industry. Internet is teeming with coverage about cheating,
drugs, illegal gambling and even match fixing around the professional
matches with often dire consequences. The high pressure cut-throat
industry can drive young people to commit desperate acts.
One of the issues is the lack of a global governing body which would
unify the regulations and would have the ability to issue sanctions.
This does happen already regionally in places such as the gaming
capital of the world, South Korea and the UK. A major step towards the
better was taken when the UK-based eSports Integrity Coalition (ESIC)
was formed in 2016. With already strong backing from some of the
biggest names in the industry, it looks promising. The relatively young
industry is still finding its ways and is definitely going through
serious growing pains, but one thing is for sure. We are far from
seeing what eSports can actually become.
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