If you think that this article about e-sport will be about pedometers and heart rate counters, you had better stop reading. E-sport is ‘a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers’, according to the Oxford dictionaries. Whether e-sport is really a sport is still open to debate. Those who think that the idea of sports presupposes physical exertion do not think it is.
Whatever the case may be, e-sport is becoming increasingly popular worldwide and has come to be seen as an important economic factor. In Germany alone turnover in the field of e-sport was already over € 50m in 2016. Analysts expect this turnover to keep going up in the next few years and reach 130m by 2020.
Why is it that e-sport is so popular? Things started with the first Gameboy, followed by video games, play consoles and computer games. The games took off, even though parents, then as now, were not in favour of their children spending so much time in front of a computer screen playing games. Still, forbidding it was not really an option then, and it still isn’t. What is different now is that professional players compete with each other all over world.
Tournaments are highly organised and professionalised, and prize money is sometimes in excess of € 1m. In the USA halls have already been built where e-sport tournaments can be held and where many thousands of spectators can watch the proceedings.
What games are played? Which ones are hot? The top spots are taken by games with such names as League of Legends, Dota2 and Starcraft II. As to more traditional sports, there are only a few football clubs that have taken steps in the virtual world, but FIFA has already made a name for itself here. Its electronic arts football game has been a classic for a number of years now.
The huge growth in e-sport activities offers many challenges to the electronic interconnect industry. In the old days a computer’s speed was measured by the speed with which it could process documents. This sort of measurement is a thing of the past. Nowadays computer speed is expressed by the way a game can be played. Peripheral devices, such as a mouse and a keyboard, are getting extra functions, enabling the gamer to play faster and better. E-sportsmen are an interesting consumer group that are targeted by marketers of many companies. And these companies want to adapt their technologies to the new e-sports uses.
This signals the start of many interesting developments.