Competitive gaming has close to a 40-year-old history, starting from the first Space Invaders tournament in 1980. Over the years, this new form of competition became bigger and more sophisticated.
Today, esports is considered a real sport, as the events gather millions of fans worldwide. You can even bet on esports tournaments nowadays, and the NJ Games website can show where you can do so.
The popularity of esports grew significantly over the last several years. In 2012, there were around 134 million esports fans. Only five years later, the audience of competitive gaming rose to 335 million. Some projections say that there will be over half a billion esports followers by 2021.
One of the reasons for this growth is that people who are tuning in to watch esports are not necessarily gamers. As a matter of fact, approximately 40% of all fans do not play the games that they watch.
Naturally, there is a lot of money moving around in this new industry. The total revenue of esports in 2017 was over $450 million. That number accounts for all publisher investments, advertisements, merchandise, licensing, and tickets. The forecast suggests that the revenue of esports will surpass the $1 billion mark by 2021.
New technology has allowed for esports events to be viewed across the globe. Some of the best gamers became popular by streaming themselves on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. Today, Twitch has over 50 million users.
Some of the most popular games on esports tournaments include League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Overwatch, Fortnite, and more. On YouTube, there are over 35 million hours of content when it comes to Fortnite.
Competitive gaming was once a hobby, but now some of the top players earn millions of dollars. The richest are Dota 2 players. The Japanese gamer Kuro Takhasomi (Kur0ky) already earned over $4 million by playing this game.
A proof that esports became more popular than some traditional sports lies in the fact that it could be included in the Olympics. The Paris Games in 2024 already agreed to put esports as a showcase sport. Asian Games that will be held in 2022 will have esports as one of the medal events.