The Fascinating History of Esports


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Video gaming has grown at an astounding rate since the 70s and 80s, with new technology being unveiled almost every year. These days, consoles like the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 are packed with an extraordinary level of programming power, fuelling an ever-increasing market for gamers to enjoy. Not only has this massively increased entertainment possibilities, but it has also led to gamers being able to turn their hobby into a genuine professional career.


For example, the esports industry has exploded in recent years, fuelled by the rise of Twitch and the popularity of streaming. To put this into context, in 2021, esports players received over $144 million in prizes via approximately 3,000 dedicated esports tournaments. Wind back a decade, and the total sum of prize money was $14 million, so you can see how enormous the change has been. Want to know more about the fascinating history of esports? Keep reading to find out.

Esports: An Overview

Despite its success, many people won’t know much about esports, so before exploring its history, let’s establish an overview first. Essentially, esports (short for electronic sports) is competitive gaming on an official level. As such, it is more serious than your average online multiplayer competition on games like FIFA, with huge prizes on offer for the winners of esports competitions. Seriously, these rewards can be extraordinarily large. Just look at the highest esports player winnings for 2021 as an example.


Esports competitions aren’t limited to one type of game either, with numerous options available. Some of the most common esports games are Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Dota 2, but competitions certainly aren’t restricted to this. The industry is so healthy that elite-tier games are now entirely professional, paid a salary to compete in annual competitions like the Fortnite World Cup and Dota 2 International. Remember when your mum said you’d never be able to earn a living while playing games? Well, it turns out she was wrong.

A Brief History of Esports

While it has only become commercially popular over the last decade, the esports industry’s history is deeper than you might expect. In fact, esports arguably has its origins in the early 1980s with things like the 1980 Space Invaders Championships. This saw over 10,000 competitors vie for the highest score, with William Salvador Heineman eventually coming out on top. Later on, in 1983, Walter Day founded the U.S National Video Game Team - the first professional esports team in the world.


The history of esports stretches back to the 1980s, but the technology necessary to support it on a commercial scale wasn’t widely available until the 1990s. Nintendo’s Nintendo World Championships was a turning point, universally regarded as the first genuinely global esports tournament. This set a precedent for competitive esports running into the 21st century, where the dramatic expansion of online connectivity and video game consoles resulted in an unprecedented period of growth for the esports industry.


For example, in 2007, the inaugural Championship Gaming Series burst onto the scene with a record-breaking prize pot of one million dollars. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to what’s on offer today. The International 2021 esports tournament had a total prize pool of $40 million - a 400% increase in little over a decade!

How to Get Involved with Esports

You have to be an exceptionally talented gamer to have any shot of competing in genuine esports tournaments nowadays, as the competition is incredibly intense. However, there are far easier ways to get involved with esports.


For example, millions of people now watch Twitch streams of esports superstars or the competitions themselves. For an even more interactive experience, the esports betting industry has also grown in popularity over the last few years. Punters can place bets on various tournaments like The International or on individual players or score lines. Esports betting is still relatively new on the scene, so bookies provide a range of free bet bonus offers to entice a larger crowd. This is a new phenomenon for many people, but reading through esports betting guides is a great way to get acquainted with a dynamic and fun new way of betting. Even without placing wagers, watching esports is extremely exciting. And if you are feeling lucky enough to bet on your favorite team, the site has all the information you need to bet on your favourite team. It isn’t unrealistic to expect esports matches and tournaments to reach the same level of popularity as regular sports in the future.


Esports teams and professional streamers also have a ton of merchandise available for fans, so this can be another great way to get involved with esports. That, or you get practising!





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