Esports is a new and emerging industry that is expanding at a faster rate with every year.
Esports is a type of sport using video games, in which individuals or teams compete against each other, often for a cash prize. These matches are played across a variety of platforms, such as PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Online competitions narrow tournaments down to the best players in the world, who then qualify to play at large esports events in public. The industry was worth an estimated $138 billion (USD) in 2018, which is up by 13.3% from 2017.
In recent years, platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitch have developed to allow games to stream directly from console and PCs, at a high quality. This allows anyone around the world to watch the best esports gamers with ease. For many people, it’s become more of a hobby to watch others, rather than play themselves, which is one of the reasons why esports events are so popular.
So, what are the biggest esports events in the world?
International eSports Federation World Championships
The International eSports Federation was founded in 2008 in South Korea, with the first of their World Championships being held in 2009. The first event was predominantly gamers playing FIFA Online. Since then, the company has come a long way, offering events in a similar format to the Olympics, but for esports. Unlike other tournaments, teams represent their countries and compete in different games. The 2020 Championships are scheduled to go ahead in November in Israel, with countries competing on PES 2020 (Pro Evolution Soccer 2020), Dota 2 and Tekken 7.
FIFA eWorld Cup
The FIFA eWorld Cup, previously known as the FIFA Interactive World Cup, is one of the largest online esports games in the world. The release of two brand new consoles (the PS4 and Xbox One) in 2013 brought more players together, as the tournament had previously only been played on the PS3. In 2016, 2.3 million people attempted to qualify for the FIWC grand final held in New York in March that year. In 2018, the FIWC was changed to the FIFA eWorld Cup and ever since, all finals have been held at the O2 arena in London. The format involves the best 16 qualifying players from each console (32 in total), playing in eight groups of four, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the last 16, and continuing into a knockout format. Each tie is settled by an aggregate score over two games of FIFA (one on each console). In 2019, the winner, ‘MoAuba’, won $250,000, as well as a ticket to The Best FIFA Football Awards. The 2019 competition had an increased prize pool of $500,000, which only made competition fiercer.
Fortnite World Cup
Fortnite was launched in July 2017 by Epic Games. Fortnite’s main game mode, Battle Royale, made $2.4 billion in 2018. Epic Games announced that $100 million of the $2.4 billion made, would be spent to enable Fortnite Battle Royale to become an esport. Following its huge and quick success, the creators didn’t take long to introduce competitive events, so that gamers could qualify for the Fortnite World Cup, an esports event, with the best players in the world competing to become no.1 in the world.
The Fortnite World Cup began through online qualifiers in April 2019, with the top 20 players/teams qualifying every Saturday through to June 2019. It’s estimated that around 40 million players across the world competed for a spot at the Fortnite World Cup. The finals were held in the Arthur Ash Stadium in New York City, between 26 and 28 July. The solos winner was 16-year-old American Kyle Giersdorf, who took the top prize of $3 million, and the duos were won by Emil Bergquist Pederse and David Wang, who also took $3 million home between them.
Qualifying for esports tournaments can be done by playing from the comfort of your own living room but the big finals, huge prize money, and the fame that comes with it, is what attracts millions of people to attempt to qualify each year. The industry is undoubtedly going to continue to grow, especially with new consoles set to be released at the end of 2020 from Microsoft and Sony. New features and technologies mean faster and more enjoyable game play, encouraging the emergence of new games and even more esports events.