What is eSports? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

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What is eSports? A Fight to the Top!

The term eSports has actually been around for quite some time, back when Japan used to hold major tournaments for Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo in the early 90’s. Those days, many tournaments were held in very small venues which only had about 100 entrants or sometimes less depending on the situation. More recently however the eSports community has evolved and has now become a global phenomenon, with an enormous fan base which reaches well over 1 million. This is surely unprecedented for such a grassroots community, but we can definitely thank a lot of developers for investing a lot of their time into their product to ensure that events run smoothly. eSports is synonymous with highly competitive gaming, and branches off into various genre ranging from the very popular team based shooters such as CSGO, trading card games like Pokemon and Hearthstone, along with the legendary strategic games such as Starcraft. Whatever your taste in gaming, eSports certainly has it for you so let us go into more detail about eSports and provide some examples to further explain just what this scene means to a lot of people.

Competitive Atmosphere

eSports is tailored to those who have a strong passion to compete at a high level, and with enough practice can see themselves obtaining paid sponsorships among other things. Competition is certainly the main driver behind the scene and is why so many people take part in the events, simply because it’s a way to showcase one's talents but also to demonstrate the fundamental values of human interaction. Despite these very same teams or individuals competing against one another for status and prize money, the camaraderie between everyone is genuine and is what truly makes watching such a spectacle. Of course, the winner walks off with everything in hand but it’s the professionalism tied with the competitive atmosphere that attracts a lot of spectators, and makes the experience feel more jovial. Without the high tension and determination to win, perhaps eSports wouldn’t has the same spark but fortunately with how the industry is constantly evolving, we can only expect there to be more in the near future. If there’s one game that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue in the eSports scene, it most certainly has to be Overwatch so let’s dive into more detail about Blizzard Entertainment’s latest blockbuster title.


Overwatch

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Release Date: May 24, 2016

eSports has become omnipresent is just about every continent of the world, and if there’s one game that brings that world together under one umbrella it most surely has to be Overwatch. Team based shooters have always been quite popular ever since the days of Team Fortress 2 along with Counterstrike, but it’s Overwatch that has taken the genre to the next level by providing an array of perks to players, allowing for non stop play. New characters are always introduced to the franchise which always tries to embrace a very multicultural feel, with every character representing their respective country in the process. Perhaps this is why Overwatch has amassed such a following because it’s a game with no boundaries, and provides players a chance to use a character that they can relate to. Overwatch is like the Olympics of team based shooters because every character’s country is valued equally, yet come with their own unique attributes that make every battle feel fresh and vibrant. It’s also a very addicting game too because so much of your time is invested in working alongside other passionate players, in order to secure the win and take home the prize. It encourages communication which, several decades ago the gaming industry was plagued with the stigma that gamers were anti social.

It’s become very apparent that Overwatch not only promotes a fun and competitive atmosphere both on a casual and high level, but it promotes interaction between players which enables relationships to be formed over the long term. What makes Overwatch highly competitive is that it’s fast paced with so much going on all at once, that your focus needs to be at the uppermost level otherwise one small error could diminish team chemistry and cost you the entire game. Unlike CSGO which is catered to a more slower paced tactical approach, Overwatch is more in your face and so emotions are always racing while bullets fly from one end of the screen to the next and you desperately trying to avoid death at all costs. With so much diversity in terms of both character and gameplay, Overwatch is a game that will not die out anytime soon, and with Blizzard constantly supporting it there’s no way it will fade into the abyss.

Overwatch Cinematc Trailer


Paid Sponsorships

While many players love the competitive environment, what motivates these players to strive for perfection all comes down to the sponsorships that they could receive in the long run. Some countries such as South Korea have created university classes pertaining to eSports, and encourage individuals to take their professional career seriously much like any other lucrative career out there. While money shouldn’t be the main reason for why you play a game, it certainly should be observed as merely a reward for your hard work and dedication towards something you love. Many sponsors are hungry to scout out players who can represent their company in a professional manner, and so every event that takes place you’ll have an array of companies lined up looking out for that one shining star to grab onto. These sponsorships range from the very small into the six figure category, and so there’s plenty to go around for any player in the scene. One game that carries a lot of sponsorships on its back at the moment would have to be League of Legends simply because it’s arguably the biggest eSports game right now, and so big names like Intel among many others are itching to invest into the marketplace.


League of Legends

  • System/Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Publisher: Riot Games
  • Developer: Riot Games
  • Release Date: October 27, 2009

Say what you will about League of Legends; Yes, it can be quite a toxic environment for many aspiring players looking to test their skills at times, but at a very high level League of Legends (or LoL for short) is perhaps one of the main reasons why eSports has grown exponentially in such a remarkably short time. Much like Overwatch, League of Legends encourages players to work alongside each other to prevent the other team from infiltrating their base and to overcome any obstacles in the way. However the difference is that League is a free-to-play title with in game purchases, but it comes with a wide variety of options for the player to dabble with and create a more personal loadout. If you’re a more defensive style player there are an array of characters to choose from, all of which come with their own pros and cons. The very same can be said for the more aggressive players.

Once the game begins you immediately start planning out your every move with your teammates, because every decision going forward counts. Whether it’s something as simple as just hiding in the bushes to remain unseen and report back to the leader, or tackling the enemy who’s trying to inch their way closer to home base, League of Legends is unpredictable and can go either way. Teamwork is pivotal because anyone who tries to play cocky or go in individually puts the rest of the team at risk, and oftentimes can ruin a solid strategic plan in mere seconds. This is perhaps where a lot of the toxicity comes in because there’s really no telling who’ll be on your team especially in online scrimmages, but on a professional level it’s more than likely that you’ll already know and have come to understand your team. Sponsors look out for these types of professional teams with a cohesiveness to them, because they’re the teams that could potentially represent these companies and because they’ve already formed a bond, they understand the level of respect that’s necessary going forward.

Welcome to League of Legends Trailer


Non Stop Entertainment

eSports has a diverse community and eSports doesn't shy away from inviting new players into the mix. Perhaps the greatest aspect about eSports is that while it’s highly competitive, it’s also quite endearing to see high level play and to see everything unfold all at once. Whether it’s a battle to the end in Dota, that final headshot in CSGO or that uppercut to finish off your opponent in Street Fighter V, eSports is an environment that encourages hype and excitement no matter what genre you come from. eSports is certainly very popular in North America since that’s where much of the grassroots events took place along with South Korea, but as of late a lot more players from various countries are starting to come from out of the woodwork to showcase their talents to the world. It’s always a thrill to see these events live on Twitch, which has become the primary platform for all things eSports. While you may not be the one playing, your heart certainly feels the tension and the energy is palpable. It’s a lot like watching any other sport out there but now everything pertains to video games. Despite the term causing some controversy among celebrated athletes who state that eSports is not really a sport, it’s become very evident that the very same essence in real sports pertaining to teamwork and training are very real in the eSports scene.


Street Fighter V

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Windows
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: February 16, 2016

The fighting game community (FGC for short) has always been a community driven by grassroot events, which are always conducted by passionate players within the scene itself. Major events like EVO were always crowd funded and much of the FGC was very dedicated, so when the appearance of eSports came to the forefront many were skeptical of whether this new venture would tamper with the already solid foundation the FGC already built. It’s become very clear now however that eSports is perhaps where the FGC needs to place their attention because with an abundance of sponsorships out there, along with opportunities to actually make a living off of playing competitively, it’s a huge plus for a community that’s always been passionate about the games they play.So let’s talk about Street Fighter V, a game that ever since it’s debut has had mixed criticism and even today it still receives flak from a lot of players in the scene. Be that as it may, at a very high level Street Fighter V is arguably one of the most entertaining games to watch because unlike our other two examples that focused primarily on working together, Street Fighter pits you against one another player in a 1v1 bout.

This requires a little more patience and awareness compared to team based games, because now there’s no group to pick up where you left off, so all the responsibility is left with you. It becomes a game of tactical thinking much like a game of Shogi, where every action counts and there’s no room for any error. It’s one brain against the other as the battle of intellect ensues, as hadoukens fly across the screen, dragon punches are initiated, and players must study specific combos to get the upper hand over their opponent. On the surface Street Fighter V is just your ordinary fighter just like Guilty Gear Xrd, Blazblue, Tekken 7 among many others, but deep down there are fundamental rules that must be applied along with learning very advanced techniques to stay a class above the rest. These very same tactics are what make watching exciting because it’s a constant back and forth of mental checks, looking to see who will dominate the other first. With EVO 2017 rolling around very soon along with other major tournaments taking place up until Capcom Cup at the end of the year, we highly recommend tuning in to see just what we’re talking about because SFV is one show you don’t want to miss.

Street Fighter V Full Length CG Trailer


Final Thoughts

It’s no surprise that eSports has evolved at the speed that it has because, there are so many titles out there that cater to the community and really encourage people to work together in a fun environment. This was certainly unheard of back in the earlier days of gaming, but seeing just how far we’ve come in terms of human interaction is a nice thing to see. While we don’t condone any negativity in any way, eSports or rather in sport for that matter, will always stir up some kind of drama whether you agree or disagree. The fact remains that eSports is not going anywhere anytime soon, and with the likes of Splatoon making its way into the limelight along with Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, this vast community is only going to manifest into something groundbreaking. Let us know what eSports titles you love to watch in the comments below, and be sure to share your favorite articles on social media to keep the community going strong.

As always for all things sweet, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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