Simply put, eSports (More Info) is an organized video game competition. Players form teams and compete against opponents in a variety of multiplayer games. Teams traditionally consist of four players, but the lineup can vary depending on the game being played. While the competitions are always evolving with new game releases, popular genres include multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), battle royale, fighting and real-time strategy (RTS) games. Players generally compete using nicknames and wear jerseys displaying both their nickname and number. Competitions usually take place using a suite of gaming PCs but some events use gaming consoles as well.
The rise is closely linked to the surging popularity of livestreaming platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. eSports is a massively popular spectator sport. Competitions are frequently held at indoor arenas where the events host both a live audience and people tuning in via a livestream broadcast. Professional competitions often draw millions of viewers, the majority of which are between ages 18-34. Some competitions have also been broadcast by conventional television outlets such as ESPN and Turner Broadcasting.
At the college level, there are over 130 varsity programs in North America, many of which are governed by the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE). These programs are often made up of multiple teams, each specializing in specific games or genres. The best players have the option of moving on to the professional level where they can earn upwards of seven figures. Professional leagues include Major League Gaming and the ESL Pro League.
eSports has grown into a billion-dollar industry. This growth is expected to continue as interest in traditional sports is declining. As younger players continue to flock to the sport, it’s clear that eSports competitions will be a cultural mainstay for years to come.