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The Evolving World of eSports

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Dating back to 1972, taking place at Stanford University, was a small tournament for the game "Spacewar". Who could have guessed that in 2017, competitive video gaming (aka eSports) would sell out massive arenas like the Staples Center or Madison Square Garden for its tournaments and explode into the billion dollar industry it has become?

It was hard to see this coming. Through online games in the early 2000's such as a Counter-Strike: Source, Starcraft, and Warcraft, eSports has been around for awhile now. Tournaments springing up throughout various states and various gaming conventions, eSports would humbly make its course through America and start to leave its mark. Early on, spectators spanned anywhere from tens to hundreds. There wasn't much of a scene in the United States; many parents and guardians would look down upon video games and considered them a waste of time.

Over in South Korea, though, eSports was taking a whole new shape. Around 1997, the Asian financial crisis took place and left many unemployed. Many today believe this to be a reason for why eSports and gaming became so popular within Korea. With this time period came a very vital invention, an internet cafe/LAN gaming center known as "PC Bang." These became ever so prevalent throughout the Asian market and brought together a large part of the eSports scene we know today. Following the creation of these internet cafes, Korea soon established the "Korean e-Sports Association" to regulate and promote the scene and help launch eSports into the behemoth we know it as today.

Come 2010, the American eSport scene is still struggling, but streaming websites such as twitch.tv, azubu, and own3d.tv gave players a new opportunity to stream their games to an audience as they played through and interacted with members of their chat. These new streaming platforms allowed for many players to showcase their skills and obtain popularity and sponsors. The biggest game around this time being streamed was League of Legends. It wasn't until 2011-2012 and a few big tournaments at some gaming conventions within the U.S. that allowed League of Legends to rocket in popularity. Streaming was becoming huge and some professional players who streamed would see viewership ranging from 10,000-30,000 a day, making thousands of dollars from donations and subscribers. It became hard to deny the money involved in eSports and the money to be made. League of Legends went on to sell out multiple arenas around the world for its World Championships, and still does to this day.

Nowadays, the eSports scene is much fuller. Offering a variety of online competitive games to play with millions of other people, some looking to be the next professional gamer, some looking to just enjoy themselves after a long day at work. After years of being looked down upon by part of the population as a time waster, eSports started to finally look like a career and a good investment. Though still coming into fruition and changing rapidly with time and popularity, eSports is beginning to find stability and respect within the world today.
 

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OursIsTheFury

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I think the dark side of esports is the elitism of older players when confronted by beginners of the game. There's also instances where players (I think in CSGO) of using PEDs (for the lack of a better term) like Adderall to improve concentration and reaction time, especially in crucial tournaments. Yes, the gaming world has formed large enough to have leagues of their own, but I guess that also means people would cheat in order to get ahead. That's why I can never truly enjoy these gaming competitions either in online ones or real life, as there's always a guarantee that a portion of the players are not playing by the rules.
 
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