Also known as eSports, eGaming is just about everywhere players look these days. Predominantly centred on video gaming, it has come a long way from Atari consoles, and is being established as a sport in its own right.
The Internet itself has probably had the biggest influence on the genre, which now boasts professional teams and players, a huge fan base, and millions upon millions of dollars in revenue.
eGaming also has an interesting relationship with the world of online gambling, and not least because games such as online bingo and even slots are classified as such in the legislation of various countries around the world.
Brief History of Video Games
eGaming wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for the research and experiments begun by computer scientists in the 1950s. They laid the groundwork for the real emergence of video games in the 1970s, which was followed by a proliferation of game consoles, joysticks, controllers, as well as game arcades, hand-held games, and personal computers in the 1980s.
The 1990s saw further refinement of games, consoles, and other equipment, as well as further entrenchment of eGaming in popular culture. It also saw the Internet go mainstream; something that had an irreversible effect on the future of gaming.
Spacewar! was one of the very first video games developed, and it was this game that was at the heart of the world’s very first video game tournaments. It was held at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab in Los Altos, California, on 19 October 1972.
It was the brainchild of Stewart Brand, then a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. Brand’s feature about video games and the tournament, published in that year’s December issue, is really the world’s first piece of eGaming journalism.
The Internet Gets Involved
The mid-90s brought with it widespread Internet and mobile device usage, and both had an impact on eGaming. Online shopping made it easier for players to obtain consoles and games, and online gaming meant that fledgling digital communities could not only talk about games, but play them against each other as well.
By the time the late 2000s and early 2010s rolled around, eGaming’s star was well on the rise. Professional tournaments and competitions offering millions in prize money sprang up, attracting players, fans, and live broadcast viewers.
That period also saw the beginnings of the genre as a recognised sport. Teams were established, and players now have the chance to go professional and earn salaries.
In 2013, the eGaming audience around the world was estimated at 71.5 million people. In just two years, that figure had climbed to 226 million people.
As well as a record number of viewers, 2015 also saw the market generate revenue to the tune of $325 million, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. Unless something drastic happens in the next few days, this year should see eGaming revenue increase to almost $500 million.
Professional eGaming Teams
The rise of eGaming has seen the establishment of professional associations such as the International e-Sports Federation, the British eSports Association, the World eSports Association, the International eGames Committee, and the Korean e-Sports Association.
Among the most well known professional teams are Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, OpTic Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, and Cloud9.
eGaming going from strength to strength has not gone unnoticed by online casino software developers. More and more slots and other games are being designed to offer players an experience similar to what they would enjoy playing games more usually associated with eSports.