The world of esports is a vast and endless hellscape of rivalries and competition. Similar to the world of sports like football and basketball, each one tells a different tale yet yields a similar fruit of labor. They’re the kind of stories that makes you want to care about it enough to get you talking.
From Lee Sang-hyeok better known as League of Legends’ Faker that led SK Telecom to three World Championships victories or “The Beast” himself Daigo Umehara’s full parry against Justin Wong’s Chun-Li at EVO 2004. You can even throw in your Cinderella stories with DOTA 2’s OG, the first team to ever win back-to-back TI championships and you’ll have yourself memorable moments straight from the history books.
And for fans of the sport, betting has been a major staple through events like these. Just like bet365 betting for your favourite teams or individuals is one way to make yourself feel involved in these great moments whether you’re streaming it in the comforts of your own living room couch or losing your shit at the stadium as soon as some crazy shit starts going on. But the real question here is how did we come from hosting in small gaming lounges or ghetto setups in basement tournaments to THIS?
The first esports event happened all the way back in October of 1972 at Stamford University where students competed on the video game Spacewar. The grand prize is a year-long subscription to the Rolling Stones Magazine which is just a little bit below of what 2019’s The International is offering. Needless to say, it’s only 15.6 million US dollars for the winning team which is nothing compared to the kind of flowers and friendship that has been forged in that very stage.
But it was really around the 90’s where the growth of esports has gone for the better. With the rise of the internet and the World Wide Web, the internet has connected gamers and gave birth to online competition which spurred the popularity of PC games and companies that began sponsoring the video game championships.
In May of 1997, the Red Annihilation Tournament for Quake was held which drew around 2000 participants. Its winner, Dennis “Thresh” Fong got to drive off in John Carmack’s 1987 Ferrari 328 GTS cabriolet but also got to be recognized by the Guinness World Records as the first professional gamer.
However, Starcraft is a game that set itself apart from its competition that is largely backed by its Korean fans. Unlike other competitive games that rely on quick reflexes and mechanical skills, Starcraft boasts in strategic thinking and tight execution. The real-time strategy game had an active professional circuit, particularly in South Korea and with two major game channels each running its own Starcraft League.
But at the rise of video streaming, names like Twitch has skyrocketed the likes of League of Legends or Counter Strike: Global Offensive to the mainstream market and made it a household name, erupting like a volcano and spreading like wildfire. And this is one of the major things that sets back esports as a whole as live broadcasts is a costly venture and one that is hard to sustain. Now with that out of the way, esports and competitive gaming can only grow exponentially with major sponsorships and investments running at its doorstep… and for the better half of 2020, this is something that we might very well need to cherish at the world’s current state.
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