The Evolution of eSports ? History and Most Significant Events

History of eSports Video Games

March 26, 2021 Ken Johnson

From the moment the foundation stone of video games was laid in the late 1950s, the world has become obsessed and mesmerised by gaming. And not only because of the pure joy and entertainment that video games bring, but also because of the rush and satisfaction you get when you successfully finish or ‘beat’ the game. And with time, video games were designed to have a high score, therefore having a winner and a loser. Since the dawn of time, competition is in human nature, so, understandably, competitive gaming started to get tremendous popularity across the globe.

Back in the days, players had to be in the same room or even play on the same screen to compete and decide who’s the best. Today, thanks to the evolution of technology and the Internet, competitive gaming is much easier. The term eSports was born, and gamers from all around the world nowadays play video games professionally as a form of a sports competition. Read on to learn some fascinating details about the history of eSports and understand how competitive gaming has turned into an industry worth billions.

The Beginning of eSports – A World-Changing Industry Was Born

Throughout the history of humanity, people from various civilisations have been playing different sports and games. Golf, horse racing, football, tennis, boxing, wrestling, basketball, and chess are just several of the many activities that people from various epochs would love to participate in. Essentially, casual participants would just play the games and sports for fun, while more competitive players would enter tournaments, contests, and other events that enable them to showcase their skills.

Competitiveness is a human personality trait, and it can be seen in plenty of historical sports events. For example, when the first video game was created, players were immediately trying to best each other’s score. Soon after, the first multiplayer title came to life. It’s safe to say that there is something about challenges, competition, and winning that makes people feel good about themselves.

In 1972, the first eSports tournament was organised, and it wasn’t like any of the flashy events that we know today. The title of the game was “Spacewar!” and it could only be played by two players simultaneously with plain and simple gameplay. However, this small event would mark the beginning of a brand new global sport that shines with its competition, innovation, and rapid growth.

History of eSports Video Games

In less than 10 years, eSports tournaments grew from having 50 contestants to over 10,000 dedicated gamers and spectators. A new industry was born. People would highly anticipate new games and consoles from Nintendo, Sega, and other brands. Titles such as Super Mario, Contra, The Legend of Zelda, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat were quick to gain popularity worldwide. While the industry was booming, more and more indie companies and developers began their adventures of producing new games.

In the late 1990s, video games such as Starcraft and Quake were pretty much dominating the scene with their flashy events and huge prizes. In 1997, Quake’s Red Annihilation tournament winner received a Ferrari 328 GTS as a reward. At that moment, many people around the world started giving the eSports industry the attention it deserves. In the early 2000s, there were hundreds of eSports events with prize pools of over $50,000.

In 2011, something awe-inspiring happened. With the announcement of Dota 2, Valve decided to organise one of the biggest and flashiest tournaments with a prize pool of $1 million. At the time, such eSports championship prizes were something pretty much unheard of. In the following years, the prizes from various popular video games such as League of Legends, Fortnite, FIFA, Hearthstone, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive became bigger and bigger. Nowadays, the industry is thriving with hundreds of millions of players and enthusiasts.

How Did eSports Become so Popular?

The required dedication, talent, practice, and effort are among the many similarities between eSports and the physical sports we all know. However, there is something special about video games that attract more players than many other sports, and that is availability. Virtually everybody with access to a console or a computer could become a professional eSports player. To be a great video game player, you don’t have to be tall, muscular, or be able to jump high. You just need to have dedication and love for the game you’re playing.

One might argue that in order to be a great gamer, you would need to have a great gaming setup. However, many professional eSports players have started without having expensive chairs, desks, hardware, and powerful computers that provide high FPS (frames per second) rates. Even though becoming a great eSports competitor might look easier compared to other sports, it definitely requires tremendous dedication, effort, sacrifices, and even talent.

eSports Video Game Popularity

Besides the availability, there are plenty of other factors that attributed to the success, growth, and popularity of eSports. Nowadays, you can easily come across television channels that are entirely dedicated to video game tournaments and championships. On top of that, some of the most popular gambling sites in the world provide betting options for the outcomes of such events.

Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube Gaming are among the many streaming platforms that professional gamers and entertainers like to use. With the help of such services, people can watch their favourite streamers play popular games. However, on these platforms, you can also watch live competitive events. Some streams bring enormous amounts of live viewers. At the beginning of 2021, a Fortnite player, David “TheGrefg” Martinez, has reached nearly 2.5 million concurrent viewers.

The Most Popular eSports Games

Similar to traditional sports, eSports have different types of games and activities. There are literally thousands of games that have tournaments and championships, but there are only several that have huge prize pools and betting options. Being at the top is not an easy task, however, video games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have had the biggest following for quite some time.

However, similar to other industries, the eSports one is constantly evolving. Popular video games such as Fortnite and Overwatch have also been incredibly successful at providing their players with fascinating gameplay. When people think of video games, they think of titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, and World of Warcraft. It’s true that they’re famous games, but they’re not popular among eSports enthusiasts. In the list below, you can find the most popular eSports games of all time.

Most Popular eSports Games on Twitch

When people discuss traditional sports, the chances are they’re talking about football, basketball, rugby, golf, and tennis. Even though the variety in terms of video games is wider than ever, people are only talking about a select few variations and titles when it comes to eSports. In our top 10 eSports game list, there are six first-person shooter titles, two MOBA variations, one card game, and one MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game).

It’s safe to say that first-person shooter titles are the most popular eSports games. That’s perfectly normal because the skill gap between players at the lowest ranks and the ones at the highest level can be tremendous and quickly noticed. However, a player’s skill in games such as Hearthstone, where luck is a huge factor, can be easily undermined. Nowadays, it’s crucial that video games provide eSports players with a chance to showcase their skills and talent and not be overshadowed by the luck factor.

The Biggest eSports Events – Which Are the Most Anticipated Tournaments?

Tournaments and championships are the most anticipated events in the sports world. Fans and enthusiasts are always thrilled to see the matches and games between the best of the best. Such events can be highly profitable for the companies that organise them. Traditional sports have plenty of globally-respected and anticipated championships such as the Winter and Summer Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, the Rugby World Cup, and many others.

The Biggest eSports Tournament Prize Pools by Game
1. Dota 2 – The International 2019
2. Fortnite – World Cup Finals 2019 – Solo
3. League of Legends – 2018 World Championship
4. PUBG – Global Championship 2019
5. Call of Duty League Championship 2020

It’s safe to say that all of the traditional sports have multiple major and minor events. The case isn’t much different with the eSports industry. Just because there is a world championship in League of Legends (LOL) doesn’t mean that there can’t be any regional events. In fact, many fans and enthusiasts prefer to watch smaller tournaments because they often bring more variety. However, the major championships in games such as Dota, Fortnite, and LOL have the biggest prize pools globally, making them some of the most exciting eSports events to watch.

In the table to the left, you can find the eSports tournaments with the largest prize pools in the world in the table to the left. However, you should keep in mind that the prize pools are constantly evolving and growing, and in the future, they could perhaps reach even more staggering numbers. Of course, emerging as the winner in such a tournament is not an easy task. Today, participating in such events is the dream of every gamer out there, and it’s definitely something that can be achieved.

In the past, many people have thought that video games are nerdy and should remain at home. The truth is that there is a perfect game for every people and age, for example, the elderly players can enjoy various AARP games at many locations, as well as practice golf, cards, etc. However, we believe that eSports should be treated with the same respect as every other popular sport. Not only do video game championships and tournaments draw the attention of millions of fans and enthusiasts worldwide, but they also provide professional players with a chance to win humongous prizes. Bookmakers and gambling sites have also joined the movement, and now they provide punters with betting options for eSports.

Online Casino Sites with eSports Betting Options

Online casinos and sports have always had a strong relationship. Тhe same goes with eSports as well. Many big bookmakers love including new betting markets in their portfolios. However, not all gambling sites around the world have eSports sections. The good news is that even if there aren’t any betting options for your favourite video games, you can always enjoy some casino games by sophisticated developers like NetEnt, iSoftBet, Microgaming, Playtech, and a few more.

Nowadays, every online casino UK platform is equipped with hundreds of slots, roulette, blackjack, and baccarat games that have fantastic graphics, soundtracks, and features that might not be far from the eSports games we all love. However, as we mentioned earlier, most reputable operators provide betting options for most of the traditional sports that we see on TV. Unfortunately, some of the new bookmakers might not have eSports betting options implemented yet.

You should keep in mind that there are eSports betting markets in many other countries besides the UK. For example, some of the best online casino Sweden platforms not only offer amazing games but also provide a wide range of eSports betting options. In 2022, almost every online casino operator provides a generous welcome bonus for its new players. We believe that such promotions can be truly amazing for newbie bettors.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when playing at online casino Greece sites as well. You always need to ensure that the operator you’ve chosen is safe, secure, and licensed by a reputable gambling authority. When it comes to eSports, we would also recommend betting on games and teams you know and have previously researched. There is always a risk, but sometimes knowledge can greatly improve your odds of winning. In the section below, you can find our detailed infographic that goes over everything about eSports.

The Evolution of eSports

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Author: John Wright