The Rise of a New Industry in Gaming: What is Esports?

What is esports ? Esports has given gamers a lucrative way to earn money while playing video games competitively. Learn more about it. 

Esports has taken the world of gaming by storm over the past decade. According to CNBC, it has the potential of reaching a billion-dollar industry this year, making it the next big thing in business and media.

Thanks to streaming platforms like Twitch and live tournaments, many casual gamers have become overnight super stars for their outstanding performances. Ask anyone in or out of the gaming industry, chances are they’ve heard of esports.


So, what exactly is esports? This refers to competitive gaming tournaments, live streams, and other events that players participate in. Esports players can build large followings while playing popular video games as part of a league or team. Over 300 million people around the world regularly tune in to watch their favorite players and teams compete in events.

History of Esports

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to revisit where everything started. It all began at a “Spacewar” gaming event at Stanford University back in October 1972. Following the event, the first ever video game competition took place in the 1980s with the Space Invaders Championship. First to jump on the band wagon was the Twin Galaxies organization, who started keeping track of high scores and records during this decade. Because of their early involvement with the industry, they are credited as the pioneers of esports.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that more companies like Nintendo began to sponsor players and host esports tournaments. With increasing media attention and public interest, the Major Gaming League formed in the early 2000s – the biggest esports league still standing today.

More often than not, these popular players have their area of gaming expertise – from “Call of Duty” to “Street Fighter II” to “Warcraft.” Tournaments gather the best players around the globe to name and reward the next world champion in esports. These overnight super stars spend long hours honing in their craft and earn millions of dollars for winning tournaments.

Esports Today

Like what we previously mentioned, esports has grown rapidly and is expected to have a projected revenue of over $1.5 billion by 2020. Players earn money in several ways, including ticket sales, endorsements, sponsorships, and league salaries. Some attend huge high-profile events, while others stream their live gameplay from home on Twitch and other online platforms.

These days, esports players compete in several well-known video games, including “Fortnite,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty,” and “League of Legends.” As esports has gained recognition, professional organizations have begun to take notice. In fact, the NBA held a ceremony that involved choosing professional esports players for NBA 2K in 2018.

Rise of Esports in Colleges and Universities

Professional organizations and companies are not the only ones interested in this emerging industry. Universities and colleges have also begun to step in to offer a formal educational path to an esports career. While some schools offer degrees catering to the esports business, others have designated programs for students to compete with other universities. Overall, there are over 50 schools offering varsity esports programs that the National Association of Collegiate Esports recognizes. Some high schools even have also started offering esports courses.

Most of these university championships raise money toward scholarship funds for students who are interested in an esports degree. For those who are in these degree programs, these tournaments and events give them a chance to put their skills to use.

Fascinated by esports? Join our esports team at the School of Game Development and get trained to become the next rising star in the industry. Request information to learn more about the program or apply now if you’re ready to become a part of our community!