How E-sports, an internet revolution and cheap technology go hand in hand

The most-watched esports event in India was PUBG Mobile World League 2020 East with a peak of 449 thousand viewers.

The evolution of Esports has taken in many folds over the last five decades. (Credits: Muvi Blogs)

The word emotion in the world of sports is pretty much synonymous with cricket. And it should be; the sport is rather worshipped by many in the country. It would be rather unfair to say any other sport is not as popular as cricket, but it is the benchmark. Enter E-sports. Well, E-sports was not even considered as a sport by many, until recently. And even now, it is up for debate. However, when one looks at numbers, it is a completely different story. Cricket fans would agree that stats speak a lot. The most watched esports event in India was PUBG Mobile World League 2020 East with a peak of 449 thousand viewers.

E-sports in a country of 1.3 billion people is an extremely new concept considering until a few years ago, the internet was not readily available, and even if it was, it was rather expensive.

Transitioning from a time of dial-up connections to 4G, is a huge feat that India has covered in a few years only. Cheap internet and cheaper yet reliable smartphones are available in most corners of the country. This is where the exposure to streaming and gaming comes in.

E-sports dates back to…?

Well, the origin of e-sports is not that big a mystery. For the skeptics, and disbelievers, the first e-sports event dates back to 1972. The grand prize for the winner was a year long subscription to the Rolling Stones magazine.

However, it wasn’t until 1980 whereby the first video game competition was held. The Space Invaders Championship had a great attendance of 10,000 participants. 

It got a lot of media attention since Space Invaders (the game of the tournament) was a household name.

In the later stage of the 1980s esports was starting to get dominated by Nintendo as they took the control, graphics, and accessibility of gaming to a whole new level.

To another level

Gaming and esports were mostly curtailed to bulky PCs that were expensive to make. But they were the next step in evolution.

India saw the onset on internet in the early 1990s, and one of the most popular PC games– Counterstrike was launched in 1999s.

And soon, Counterstrike became the number one multiplayer competitive gamethat is enjoyed and played by players across the globe.

The game made its esports debut over two decades ago, offering 150,000 USD prize money. Many well-established gaming teams like NiP or SK gaming created a team for it.

NiP won the first-ever CSGO victory at the event. This eventually shaped the FPS esports industry that is currently worth millions of dollars.

The boom of 2000s

When the millennium changed, major international tournaments such as the World Cyber Games and the Electronic Sports World Cup were born, followed by the Major League Gaming (MLG) in 2002.

MLG is currently the largest esports league today with the most generous in prize money. At the end of the decade, the rise of Defence of the Ancients (Dota), a mod originating from Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos gave birth to MOBA genre.

Currently, popular games such as League of Legends continue on the MOBA formula and have huge following.

In 2011, esports was revolutionised. It was time for Esports to come to the forefront. With the announcement of Dota 2, Valve came up with one of the biggest and flashiest tournaments with a prize pool of $1million.

This was a time when esportsports championship prizes were unheard of, and people got to know they can actually make a career out of it.

No one knew that in years to come, video games like League of Legends, Fortnite, FIFA, Hearthstone, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive would become much bigger . The industry is thriving with hundreds of millions of players and enthusiasts.

Next level popularity of Esports

While many ask what are similarities between sports and Esports, the answer is rather simple. The required dedication, talent, practice, and effort are among the many similarities.

However, one could ask what attracts players towards Esports, then also the answer is pretty simple– it will be the availability.

Virtually everybody with access to a console or a computer could become a professional Esports player. To be a pro gamer, all you have to be is– diligent.

One doesn’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.

In India, people got the exposure to Esports via streamers who played online, and competitively, as well. The argument that Esports should only be for the rich and the wealthy is often shunned by many when they tell their back story.

Many of them did not start with an expensive chair, a huge gaming set up or a super powerful PC. They just had the will to succeed – and they did.

Aaryanshi Mohan

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