Gamers changing the landscape of professional sports


While not many people consider playing video games to be a professional sport, the gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. As technology continues to advance year after year, there is no slowing down for tech giants, virtual reality companies, mobile gaming, and the esports industry. In fact, many rookie video game enthusiasts go on to become high level and paid professional gamers who create a full-time career by competing in tournaments worldwide and accumulating sponsorship.

In 2018 alone, gamers worldwide were expected to spend around 138 billion dollars in video games, esports and mobile, with the possibility of increasing by 13.3 percent annually. Fortnite has easily become one of the most popular online games since its release in 2017, with no looks of slowing down in 2019. After its release, the online role playing game has easily gained 125 million players worldwide with and has even helped create professional gaming careers for many including a 13-year-old player from Kent, United Kingdom. Although some skeptics may disagree and think that the odds are against one’s favor when creating a career in professional gaming, it’s actually more common than one would think.

Esports has become evolutionary in just a short period of time. With gamer festivals like SXSW – an annual film, music, comedy, interactive, and gaming festival held in the United States– the topic of esports is considered to be one of the highlights in the 2019 festival lineup. One popular attraction at these festivals includes the esport tournaments that take place featuring the best up and coming esports players in a variety of games including Starcraft II, League of Legends, DOTA2, Street Fighter V, and even mobile game, Clash Royale.  SXSW’s three-day festival also includes a gaming expo which draws in thousands of developers, manufacturers, and even celebrities worldwide in exhibits and online broadcasted tournaments. Other unique gaming features at these conventions include a full-table tabletop games, arcades, and video games using the PC entertaining gamers from different skill levels and backgrounds.

While it may be hard to believe, professional gamers actually do earn quite the salary and sometimes even more than the developers themselves. For a League of Legend Championship series, a competitive strategy and battle experience role playing online game, each player is compensated up to $12,500 for a 28-match season. For the more popular games like Fortnite, the prize pool can easily add up to millions of dollars. With its growing popularity now, Fortnite’s creators and developers, Epic Games, has agreed to provide a 100 million dollar prize pool for the esport’s first year of competitive play.

Like all careers, becoming a pro gamer does take much time, discipline, studying, and overall commitment. Top gaming players also have a regimented practice schedule they stick to and similar to other professional athletes, advance their skills through practice and patience. It’s not to say one will make a million dollars overnight, but the chances of competing with high-level players with a generous prize pool are to be more in reach if one decides to take their gaming career seriously.

With the new year around the corner, esports is predicted to becoming a billion dollar industry in 2019 while expanding towards different horizons including the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. The 2019 SEA Games will take place in the Philippines as esports will be a recognized as a medal sport. There will be six gold medals that will be awarded in total across three gaming platforms – mobile, PC, and console. Not only will esports be a part of the upcoming SEA Game, but the future for the industry looks bright as it is also being considered to be a part of future Olympic games.

According to news article from official Olympic website, an esports forum was held earlier this year that brought together 150 representatives from the gaming industry. The forum discussed a potential collaboration between the Olympic committee and the esports industry while discussing the overall matter if esports should be considered as a sport itself, and if it should be a part of future Olympics. While there has been opposing sides across worldwide media, some claiming that esports is a promotion and demonstration of violence, there is current conversation and buzz going on that esports has the possibility of being included in the 2024 Olympics.

While there are many changes in the gaming ecosystem, esports and competitive gaming seem to have a bright future in 2019. While the seriousness of the sport seems to be questioned by other professional athletes, there is no slowing down for the industry and developers, as there are many exciting pending releases to be expected in the upcoming year. While future tournaments are providing more cash in their prize pile, competitive gaming as a career is also equally becoming just as competitive.

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