eSports: Birth and Evolution

A brief review of the history of electronic sports.

Stanford University, 1972. Dozens of students meet on campus willing to participate in a tournament of Spacewar !, one of the first games in history, constituting the germ of the event nearly a decade later, in 1980, organized itself Atari. The Space Invaders Championship brought together more than 10,000 US participants, becoming one of the most massive competitions history and making it clear that the competitive side of the game was extremely important.

The Space Invaders Championship 1981.
Leaving aside face events, we find in Netrek the precursor of competitive online games today. Designed by Kevin Smith and Scott Silvey and developed as open source, this mix of shoot 'em up and RTS for 16 people came in 1988, becoming the first online game for teams in history.

ESports are not just mere entertainment and also happen to be a business and a profession whose magnitude is growing: in the last five years the audience has grown by over 1500% and prize money has increased by 800%.
But despite these first steps into the competitive aspect, it is not until the late nineties when we found which is considered by many the first official competition of electronic sports. Quake, the mythical title of id Software, was absolute core of a championship called Red Annihilation that in May 1997, ended with a Dennish 'Thresh' Fong victorious taking home a peculiar and striking prize: a Ferrari 328 GTS belonging to the large collection of John Carmack, co-founder of id Software and one of the most influential figures in the history of the game.

From that time until today almost two decades have passed, in which we have witnessed the birth of major competitions still in force as Major League Gaming or Electronic Sports League, drop others such as the Cyberathlete Professional League, holding big tournaments like the Evolution Championship Series games and have lived and historical moments that are part of the collective imagination, as popularly known as '#Moment 37'. Along the way, of course, we have witnessed the birth of true legends as Jonathan "Fatality" Wendel, Lim 'Boxer' Yo Hwan or, in more recent times, Lee 'Faker' Sang-Hyeok.

Obviously, electronic sports are not just mere entertainment and also happen to be a business and a profession whose magnitude is growing: in the last five years the hearing (in person and through the network) has grown by over 1500% to the nearly 80 million viewers in more than 170 countries, while economic awards have increased by 800%, reaching 30 million distributed during the last 2014.

Currently, the undisputed king is League of Legends, followed by Dota 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Starcraft 2. Hearthstone is undoubtedly the latest surprise. One of the oldes but still very popular games is Counter Strike on which you can place cs go bets

Thus, although it is still surprising, it seems that we are used to that thousands of people flooded stadiums to witness the finals of Dota 2, League of Legends or Counter Strike: Global Offensive as millions of users around the world are still some retransmissions every time more carefully and professionals through streaming services like Twitch (one of the main causes of increasing popularity of e-Sports) or, as recently happened in the very ESPN.

Netrek, the father of the current competitive online games.
Consequently they are increasingly players who make the leap to professionalism, training and competing during days eight to twelve hours to obtain a monthly salary while living with his team in so-called gaming house, which largely not it would be possible without the investment and support of major brands and multinationals such as Intel, Coca-Cola or Microsoft.

For all this, it is common that more and more video game companies who see eSports a very juicy cake with many pieces still to be distributed. Companies of utmost importance in the history of video games as Blizzard or Valve have internal departments devoted exclusively to the adequacy of its franchises to electronic sports, and between them three of the five competitive titles played today spread. Meanwhile, Riot Games or, again, Valve, are themselves responsible for organizing international tournaments such as the LCS draft or The International, competitions highest level of LoL and Dota 2.

So, this brief review the birth and evolution of electronic sports makes it clear that despite the meteoric growth of the sector during the last five years, the end of the road seems to be still far away. Of course, neither it is free from obstacles and problems to contend with and learn to overcome, demonstrating the maturity of the medium. But we'll talk soon ...