Why is esports so popular?

By William Davis


Aug 2, 2021

Reading time: 4 min

The online gaming industry is getting bigger every day. But what exactly is driving that constant growth, and how has that led to the development of esports?

Gaming has quickly become the biggest thing in modern entertainment. The industry is now valued in the billions of dollars, a far cry from its humble beginnings when Atari was the biggest name in the space. A big part of that growth has been the development and proliferation of the internet.

Online gaming presents players with limitless opportunities across the spectrum of what gaming has to offer. Whether it’s competitive gaming and esports, casual gaming with friends across the world, or participating in online gambing such as pokies, there’s truly something for everyone.

The rise of competitive gaming in particular should come as no surprise. People love to compete, and gaming has made competition easier to engage in than ever before. No longer do players have to worry about finding a like-minded group of fellow competitors to participate with. Now, they can just boot up a console or computer and use an automatic matchmaking service.

Those matchmaking services lead to games and competitions that are taking place at every hour of every day. So whether you’ve got time to play in the morning, afternoon, or at night, you’ll be able to compete thanks to the modernities of online gaming.

This is equally true for more casual gaming. How easy is it to play a simple puzzle or word game on your phone with a friend halfway across the globe? That’s something that wouldn’t have been possible just some years ago. Now, it’s commonplace.

Gambling has also gone in new directions thanks to these developments. It’s no longer necessary to go out to a casino or to find a local sportsbook if you want to place some fun bets. Now it’s as simple as getting online and choosing from a wide variety of potential providers.

As easy as this all is today, it’s only going to get that much easier in the future. As internet speeds improve and connectivity continues to develop, we should see that many more opportunities for participation in all sorts of online gaming avenues in the years to come. And for players, that’s great news.

Esports events show massive growth

It isn’t just the ease of connecting with fellow gamers around the world that speaks to the explosive growth of esports. There’s also a long list of esports events held around the globe that show the power of this emerging industry and pastime.

The biggest of these is The International. This annual event is run by Valve, one of the biggest companies in the video game sphere. Valve employs a crowdfunding method to raise money for the event’s prize pool. As a result, The International has been contested for more than $30 million at a time. That’s enough money to make the winning players overnight millionaires.

The high stakes draw a lot of attention from fans. Top players take part in these competitions, showing the game that fans love played at its highest level and with tons of pressure involved. The ensuing drama is reminiscent of any traditional sport when played at the highest level, and makes it easy to understand why esports has become such a phenomenon.

Scenes such as these are by no means limited to The International, or for that matter to Dota 2. League of Legends is a direct competitor to Dota 2, and League of Legends’ biggest annual competition, the League of Legends World Championship, draws more viewers than all but a few top traditional sporting events. Millions and millions of fans from around the world tune in online to watch the action.

Even the viewing methods speak to the bright future of esports. Fans watch games primarily on digital streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. While traditional broadcasters and sporting leagues struggle to find the right fit on streaming platforms like these, esports events are already positioned for the future.

Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Rocket League all stand as additional examples of games that have seen esports events played in front of big crowds and with high stakes.

But League of Legends is separated from most games in the pack in another way: franchising. Team owners are able to buy a meaningful stake in the competitive future of League of Legends, providing a financial model even more similar to that of traditional sports.

Other games, most notably Activision-Blizzard’s Overwatch, have also pursued this model. It’s an example of the continuing evolution of esports. And the further esports develops and evolves, the brighter its future becomes.