The world of sports has historically been defined by the raw athleticism of its participants. Whether that athleticism is defined by strength, size, or technique, it has always come down to a showcase of physical abilities. Since the turn of the century, there has been a shift caused by the rapid emergence of a new major player – eSports.
Esports is growing worldwide, with huge venues such as the Air Canada Centre and Madison Square Garden selling out to accommodate the large-scale events. The growth has been clocked at 41.3% per year according to the Global eSports Market Report of 2017, and is now worth approximately $696 million. On top of this, the traditional sporting world has hopped on board the eSports train with investments coming from major franchises such as the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Bruins, along with individual investments from household names such as Shaquille O’Neal, Alex Rodriguez, Magic Johnson, and more.
On Thursday, eSports veterans Justin Wong (screen name jwong) and Ryan Ramirez (screen name fchamp) were in Toronto to launch Bud Light’s new living room experience tailored towards eSports fans and discussed the rapid growth of eSports.
There are a wide variety of games involved in eSports including team-style games such as League of Legends, and individual-style games such as Streetfighter and Super Smash Bros. Wong, a specialist in individual fighting games, explains how a player’s reputation and reception can be defined by the characters they play as, and how this contributes to the unique culture of eSports.
In an eSports world that is growing so quickly, Wong explains that amateur gamers trying to make the leap into professional eSports should strive to be noticed through a good social media presence and the confidence to go into tournaments and cause upsets.
Ramirez adds that it comes down to dedication, and that you can only make an assessment once you have put in the time and work and given it 100%. Ramirez, a player known for his fiery attitude, explains that the growth has helped him to become a better person.
The next generation is huge, with more and more kids understanding that they can compete professionally even if they are not the most athletic person. Both Ramirez and Wong believe the sport will continue to grow rapidly, with Ramirez even saying that he thinks eSports will eventually surpass traditional sports. How much the sport grows and how it develops is still yet to be determined, but for now the unique culture of eSports is controlled by the ones holding the controllers.