History of Esports

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Isaac Rodriguez, Contributor

                          Esports, one of the most popular gaming events in the world. About 25.7 million people watch these per year. And it is expected to rise to 351 million by 2023. But what is esports? Esports or Electronic sports, is competitive gaming. Gaming tournaments around the world, With many people competing for money, or to prove that they are the best. Esports can be traced all the way back to October 19, 1972. This event was held in Stanford university, with around 24 participants competing in the game, “Spacewar!” considered the first digital computer game. Esports didn’t really have a lot of popularity at the time, but video games as a whole, really started gaining some popularity. 2 years before the tournament video games started to gain some recognition. With the first home console being released in 1972, video games were being introduced to the general public. And Esports started growing in popularity even more in 1980. The year of a big Esports tournament, hosted by Atari. The space invaders championship. More than 10,000 people participated. And it gave Esports a bigger audience, and more recognition in the public. And as the years went by, more and more video games were being developed and released. Which means more games to play in Esports, And a more diverse audience, depending on which games they play. For example, “Street fighter” is a very popular game in Esports. And in 1991 The first U.S tournament sponsored by Capcom for “street fighter” was held in California, and was one of the earliest fighting game tournaments ever. The more games introduced, the bigger the audience. But during that time, Esport tournaments were hard to come by. Sure they were popular, but since not many companies sponsored them, they were pretty rare to come across. But that all changed in 1998. The golden age for Esports. One of the most popular games at the time was “Starcraft 2.” And then one of the most popular Esports events in history was made. The legendary Starcraft 2 tournament, gaining 50 million viewers worldwide. Esports exploded, more viewers than ever before. And in the 2000’s  when first person shooters were introduced as an Esport, it got even more popular, with games like, halo. And in 2010 the extremely popular strategy based game “league of legends” became an Esport. Strategy based games is a very popular genre. This popularity led to the “League of legends world championships.” millions of people watched and became one of the largest running Esports games of all time. And it is still going, over 3 million people watch a year. And fps “first person shooters” games were also doing very well. In 2016 Overwatch was released worldwide, And winning game of the year. Over 100 nominations of game of the year. And later Overwatch became an Esport, called “Overwatch league,” gaining a massive fan base. And then something unexpected happened. The arrival of Fortnite in 2017. Nothing was more popular than Fortnite. Fortnite became the most popular game of the world at some point. Fortnite is a battle royale first person shooter. It gained inspiration from another game called PUBG “Player Unknown BattleGrounds” But because of “fortnite’s” more accessible and more simple gameplay and its unique building mechanic, it managed to be more popular than PUBG. And soon Fortnite will make its mark. 350 million players worldwide. And after all of this, Fortnite tournaments were made, And soon the most anticipated Esport tournament in history. The 2019 Fortnite world cup. The prize was 100 million dollars. And that is how Esports came to be the 1 billion dollar industry. Led by the biggest Esports games like, “Dota 2,” “League Of Legends,” “Overwatch,” “Fortnite,” And “Counter strike: Global offense.” And Esports will continue to grow, year after year.