Maybe some of you are wondering what is actually esports? Electronic sports, e-sports or competitive video gaming is a form of competition that is facilitated by electronic systems. It has gone from an industry mostly featuring amateurs to an industry with professional players and now includes the creation and maintenance of professional teams and organizations. The past decade has seen a flood in the popularity of esports. Hundreds of thousands of people attend to watch different tournaments each year. Professional gamers on teams are receiving a salary, tournaments prizes and team sponsors sometimes are covering all their needs like travel expenses, healthcare. lodging, transportation, and meals. Players and fans are not just the only ones who benefits from the growth of esports, there is massive industry surrounding gaming in general and continues to grow upward really fast. If you look back just a couple years ago, there weren’t enough interest and professional players for world events. While today, new tournaments are consistently announced all over the world, with enormous prize pools, millions are watching it online, fans are gathering on events to cheer up for their favorite esports team and the number is regularly rising year over year.
Now let’s go back to the roots of electronic sports, the earliest known video game competition took place on 19 October 1972 at Stanford University for the game Spacewar. The Space Invaders Championship held by Atari in 1980 was the earliest huge video game competition, attracting more than 10,000 players across the USA. The event, Starcade ran between 1982 – 1984 airing a total of 133 episodes, on which participants would attempt to beat each other’s high score in an arcade game. Twin Galaxies known as gaming world record organization was established in 1981 and began keeping track of the top players’ scores in titles Space Invaders and Donkey Kong In the early 1990s, many games benefited from increasing internet connectivity especially PC games. The late 90s also saw the release of the breakout real-time strategy “Starcraft: Brood War.” During the ’90s gaming world slowly begins to stomp the whole scene, while more competitive console games arrived, like Street Fighter II, one-one fighting video game franchise, where PC games such as Doom (considered to be one of the pioneering first-person shooter games) and Quake allowed players to play together using a Local Area Network (LAN).
The first major Street Fighter tournament has been held in 1996 Sunnyvale, California called Battle by the Bay. Organized by Tony and Tom Cannon, organizers/founders of the Evolution Championship Series. A Company that hosts tournaments like this presents some of the highest level competition in a Street Fighter and it is still delivering. Year after, legendary Quake’s Red Annihilation US tournament has been held in Atlanta, Georgia, US May 1997. It was one of the first nationwide video game competition that gathered over 2,000 competitors. Dennis “Thresh” Fong, won the event and was granted with Ferrari 328 GTS as the grand prize. Thousands of people were watching the event online with in-game cameras. Two years later, Quake 3 Arena was launched, especially designed for multiplayer allowing players to compete against each other in real time via internet or LAN with various modes implemented like (Free for All, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag) on different maps or more complex arenas against tougher opponents and the weapons that are balanced by role where each weapon has advantages in certain situations.
CPL also was known as Cyberathelete Professional League was founded by Angel Muñoz on June 27, 1997, in Dallas, Texas. This professional sports tournament organization focused only on console and computer video game competitions. Considered as one of the first professional video game tournaments, which have been held all around the globe. Several esports professionals also started to make a name for themselves in the early stages of esports industry. One of them is Johnathan “Fatality” Wendel. Who has won approximately to $450,000 in cash from various professional competitions. He won the 2005 CPL World Tour which had the total prize pool of $1,000,000, taking the grand prize of $150,000 home. In 1999, fabulous FPS video game Unreal Tournament and Counter-strike showed up, which later would become one of the world’s most popular esports titles. Beginning of the 2000s, console multiplayer gaming industry advanced to the whole new level. Xbox Live introduced online services where console gamers are allowed to play cooperatively against each other on first-person shooter titles as Call of Duty and Halo 2. Games like Counter-Strike and Starcraft expanded in popularity during the 2000s. The rise of the video content, broadband internet, and new online services allowed even more gamers to compete against each other online and experience the connectivity like never before.
Major League Gaming also is known as MLG has founded in 2002 New York, USA by Sundance DiGiovanni and Mike Sepso. This professional esports organization became the first televised gaming league in the USA and by now is one of the largest and most successful league. Also, the rise of ESL formerly known as Electronic Sports League is remarkable. This company organizes the competitions all over the world and it is the world’s largest esports company and the oldest professional esports organization that is still operational. ESL has launched in 2000 Cologne, Germany. They began with the gaming magazine, renting out servers for game competitions and online gaming league. Now, ESL hosts many Minor/Major competitive events around the globe, offering almost every esports title that is played on a competitive level and offering online tournaments and ladders across all games and skill levels. Number of tournaments has increased from about 10 tournaments in 2000 to about 260 in 2010. The Large number of successful tournaments have found their way during this period, including the Intel Extreme Masters and World Cyber Games. Outside the esports genres, in September 2006 FUN Technologies Worldwide Webgames Championship included 71 players competing in games like Bejeweled 2, Solitaire and Zuma with $1,000,000 grand prize with the aim to find the “world’s best casual gamer”. Also, some of the biggest and most popular esports teams of today including, Optic Gaming, SK Telecom T1, Team SoloMid, Team Dignitas and Fnatic were all launched in the 2000s. While the esports industry has been going through massive growth, including the number of tournaments hosted, viewership and prize money. More sponsors became attracted to esports and year after year grand prizes for events are rising into millions of dollars each.
One of the first competitive real-time strategy computer games was Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and the official expansion Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Battle.net servers host PVP Ladders for The Frozen Throne, for few regions as Kalimdor (Asia), Lordaeron (USWest), Azeroth (USEast), Northrend (Europe), they all had a certain number of players. One of the first tournaments (ESL Pro Series Season I Germany) was hosted by ESL in Cologne, Germany 10.08.2002 with the prize pool of $28,000. In March 2004 DotA Allstars v3.0d was released by Guinsoo, in following month he released v.4.0a the first version to feature Roshan. The first competitive version of DotA Allstars is released in November 2004 v.5.84. International Gaming Syndicate (IGS) starts the first official league for DotA Allstars on 20.11.2004. The first official competitive match was held between House of Zed and 4DTA. Throughout the years, Guinsoo with help of Icefrog, Neichus and few member of Clan TDA have continued to develop the next versions of the map. You can find out more about DotA Allstars history here.