Since the beginning of the video game era, people have been playing esports competitively. Esports stands for electronic sports, which existed long before these deep story-based games we have today.
I remember the time when we used to play Space Invaders to beat the highest score. People used to become local heroes by beating the top score on those old arcade games. After some time, the popularity of PC gaming reached its peak and people started playing these arcade games against strangers. That can be considered as the beginning of the esports era.
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For those looking to get into esports or just diehard fans, learning about its history, impact on modern pop culture and the world economy is very important. In this article “Esports for beginners”, we are going to talk about just that. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
Esports for Beginners: How it All Began
Believe it or not, many interactive arcade games were developed in the 1950s but not for commercial use. These video games were a tool to test the capability of a certain computer. At that time, video gaming and esports didn’t really exist.
But all of that changed when two guys, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney developed Computer Space, the first-ever video game that was released commercially.
Nutting Associates was the manufacturer of this first-ever coin-operated arcade game. The game quickly became famous globally and gave an outlook on future competitive games.
The first cooperative multiplayer game was designed in 1972 and it was named Pong. The following year, another cooperative game was released named Astro Race.
These games caught the attention of a lot of gamers and were a massive success. But they were turn-based CO-OP games. One player sets a score and another player tries to beat that score.
These two games opened a completely new branch in the entertainment industry. I still remember the time when gamers used to gather on a gaming hub and play these games for hours.
But these turn-based multi-players started losing attention pretty quickly. Patiently waiting for a player’s playthrough to finish isn’t exactly suitable for the entertainment industry.
The First Real-time CO-OP Game
The first real-time CO-OP game was designed in 1973, in a system named PLATO. This new platform featured games like Spasm and Empire. These games delivered a unique and completely new experience to the gamers and opened new opportunities.
These games quickly became addictive and people started betting on players. They can be considered as the first professional esports titles in gaming history.
Exactly ten years later, two guys named Quartet and Gauntlet gave an advancement in the gaming industry by making a 4-player console.
They successfully introduced the first cooperative game that had four players. This was another milestone of advancement in this industry and players were quickly hooked onto these extended CO-OP games.
New Hampshire University had a super-computer which was only accessible by the teachers and students of that university.
This supercomputer featured some CO-OP games that were played only by the people who were part of that university. It opened a platform that allowed many players to play at the same time. Although, the player count was extremely limited.
Use of Computer Networking
It wasn’t long after when computer networking shook the whole world. All of us knew that it was only a matter of time when video games would take advantage of this networking system to bring global gamers closer together.
You might be surprised to know that the first video game that took advantage of computer networking is still a very famous game. It’s Flight Simulator 2.
This game was actually used professionally by many institutions to train amateur pilots. In this game, two players fly a plane together and learn about the basics of taking off and landing.
MIDI Mage was released in 1987. This new technology made the internet and ethernet a common media of networking. In 1991, Super NES and Game Boy imported this new technology into their systems and since then, the upward development curve of the gaming industry has never flattened.
Esports 101: The Basics of Esports
The main question I get about Esports is, “Is it possible to have a professional career in esports?”. The short answer is yes, it is possible.
But you have to keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to benefit from playing games financially. Just like any other sports, it will take time and continuous efforts to gain a spot on the leaderboards of esports.
The first thing you need to do is find an esports title that will match your interest and skills. Then you have to master the main aspects of that game. For example, if you are playing CS: GO, then try to master the abilities of at least one of the characters of that game.
If you are winning normal matches regularly and getting enough kills, then you have to find a professional team for that particular game.
After a lot of hard work (and maybe a little luck) you might get selected. Then your professional career as an esports athlete will begin.
You have to accept that a lot of barriers will come straight at you and it will be brutally difficult to make an actual profession in esports. But if you keep on trying, success will surely come.
Common Terms Used in Esports
While playing these competitive games, esports athletes use some common commands to communicate with each other. It’s a very important part of the match for keeping all the team members lined up and to perfectly plan a strategy for winning the game.
Here are some commonly used:
- Carry player: Mainly in strategy games, you and your team might have to protect a player for an added advantage to win the game. Esports athletes call them Carry players.
- Aggro or ‘take aggro’: When your team needs a boost or needs to attack the opponent aggressively, then gamers usually shout “aggro”. And, in some games, if you shout “take aggro”, then a non-playing character will attack the opponent.
- BM: Swearing and any other form of insults are strictly prohibited in most big esports games. BM basically stands for bad manners. By shouting BM, a player can be accused of bad manners and be banned from a match.
- AoE: AoE means a particular spell that can be cast on a limited area of the map instead of casting it directly onto the enemy. Usually, the area you can cast that spell is highlighted on the map of the game.
- Camp: The term “camp” is used mainly in first-person shooters when you and your team want to hide on a spot of the map for an ambush.
- Grind: Grind command is used when you need to do something repetitively. That repetitive activity to gain experience points or in-game currency. This is commonly used in strategy games.
- Frag: The term “Frag” is used when someone on your team gets a kill. This term is mainly used in First Person Shooter.
- Ganking: A term used when you and your team are ambushing the opponent team from behind. Almost in all games, this command is vastly used.
- Harass or poke: This command indicates a strategy that involves doing small damage to the enemy fortress and gaining a substantial advantage over time.
- Initiating: A command used to begin the fight of the game.
Best Professional Esports Titles
Literally, thousands of games are played professionally by esports athletes but some of the best esports titles are given below,
Counter-Strike was first launched in 2012 by the company, Valve. And soon after its release, people started playing this game professionally. Now, big tournaments are arranged for this title and people are earning millions of dollars in prize money.
Dota 2 was another massive release by Valve and almost instantly, this became one of the biggest Esports games ever released.
League of Legends is undoubtedly one of the biggest Esports titles. Riot Games, the developer of LOL has opened a massive opportunity for professional Esports athletes to make a career in the gaming industry.
Where to Watch Esports Matches
The mainstream platform for watching games live is Twitch. Most big tournaments are streamed on Twitch and people are also streaming daily gameplay on the platform.
On occasion, the company that is arranging a big tournament will open their own website for fans to stream the tournament matches live.
Future of Esports
Esports has become a multi-billion-dollar industry in the past two decades. So, the future revolution of this industry is beyond our imagination. People are leaning towards esports every day.
The sponsors are investing more money into this industry, which is always a good sign.
And game developers are spending more money to improve existing titles and develop new ones as well. The competition of innovation is incredibly high and that is exactly what is driving the esports industry forward at light speed.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, video games are now the largest entertainment industry in the United States. And soon will become the largest in the world.
With new gamers becoming interested in esports every day and esports slowly being adapted into the curriculum of educational institutes all over the world, the future of esports seems blindingly bright.
Concept of VR Esports Games
Virtual Reality (VR) games are even becoming popular. VR has become one of the technologies with the highest projected potential for growth. According to the latest Research of IDC (2018), investing in Augmented Reality (AR) and VR will result in multiplication of 21 over the next 4 years and growing to 15.5 billion EUR by 2022.
Augmented reality blends the real world with the digital world and has the potential to change how humans interact with machines and related software. Recent product announcements indicate this technology is approaching market readiness beyond early adopters.IDC Corporate USA
The innovation sector of esports has already achieved milestones and the future has a lot for us.
Opportunities for Esports Athletes
Esports players are professionally streaming every day. More than 15 million people visit Twitch, one of the largest streaming platforms for esports. Sponsors are investing in streamers to advertise their products to people of all ages.
Some top-ranked esports players have become multi-millionaires just by streaming and brand endorsements.
They are developing their own gaming setups with renowned brands. So, esports is creating more and more self-employment on a daily basis.
Have you heard about Kyle Giersdorf? If not, then let me introduce you to this 16-year old teenager who has won the $3 million USD top solo prize at the Fortnite World Cup in New York. The total prize pool for that particular event was $30 million USD. Isn’t this mind-boggling?
There are some more well-known players such as Fear, PPD, Faker, Saahil Arora, etc. Faker is known for playing League of Legends. He earned over a million dollars. Saahil Arora is known as the 2nd highest earning professional Dota 2 player. He has earned over $2.1m with Defense of the Ancients.
Esports tournaments are getting more popular by the day. It is also playing a vital role in creating hype between teenagers. Almost every popular game, such as CS: GO, Dota 2, Fortnite, and PUBG, have both official and unofficial tournaments. Some tournaments are local and some are international.
As more tournaments are held, the prize pools in these tournaments are getting crazier. It is not only for entertainment purposes now. Some people are taking e-gaming as their profession.
They are earning both from streaming and tournaments alike. And they’re gaining an enormous number of fans and enhancing the popularity of esports in the process.
Changing Perspective on Video Games
A few years back parents did not allow children to spend much time on gaming. One of the reasons was fear of their child’s health. Whereas, studies have shown that competitive video games provide many of the same benefits of grass sports.
To be successful in esports there must be teamwork, communication, strategy, and sportsmanship. All of which is learned through participating in organized esports.
Esports minimizes physical exertion and enhances hand-eye coordination, attention, and visual acuity. Many studies show that approximately 71% of parents report gaming having net positive effects on children.
Creating Job Opportunities
By increasing job opportunities, esports is playing an important role in world economics. The video game industry is creating job opportunities for thousands of creative professionals every year.
This includes designers, software developers, audio engineers, computer programmers, animators and artists, writers, interpreters and translators, video game testers, and technical support specialists. The list of new job opportunities goes on-and-on!
The esports industry is alone responsible for $139 billion dollars worth of business every year. In terms of revenue, it is more than music, movies, NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL combined! So, the possibilities in this sector are huge.
Some of The Negative Aspects
With all of these advantages and possibilities, we have to acknowledge some problems that can harm the future of esports.
With the enormous competition, the job security of employees in this sector is decreasing. Some even work up to 17 hours a day. This leaves them with stress and serious health issues.
Also, some professional gamers have reported suffering from brain trauma, stress, and other health issues.
And there is no insurance or security for the players offered by the gaming companies. So, this has become an alarming problem and has the potential to have an effect on the future prosperity of this sector.
The concept of an esports player union has been presented for a few years. As the industry progresses, individual teams and players will become famous and increase their social acknowledgment and economic leverage. So, there must be an environment for discussion and creating regulations for the esports industry.
The drive for players to negotiate with teams, sponsors, and other shareholders on more equality is inescapable. Unions are the outcome to secure the rights of the players. There have even been talks of a union for the game developers to secure their jobs and other facilities.
Despite having all of these problems, we cannot deny how important the esports industry has become to our entertainment and the world economy.
If we work on solutions for the present problems, we can one imagine how much prosperity is waiting for us in the future.
Statistics show that the future of gaming is extremely bright. And the growth of this industry will keep on rising.
For new esports athletes, opportunities for building a strong career in gaming are endless. With enough willpower and time, any gamer can be successful professionally in this industry.
Play your favorite esports game on a regular basis, try to master your skills and then, try to get on a professional team.
With some time and patients, you can be successful in this ever-growing industry.
I hope that this article “Esports for Beginners” inspires the esports celebrities of the future. This was the intention of writing this article in the first 🙂
We wish you all the best. And thanks for stopping by!