Esport, also called electronic sports, is a term used to describe the competitive part of video games. It is often used as just another synonym for video game competitions and roots in South Korea. It has been an important part of popular culture since at least the mid-90s, and today we see leagues made by giant companies like Activision, Riot Games, and Valve, which are often associated with other sports. Over the past few years, esport has become more and more popular in Europe, but mainstream acceptance is still lacking. Even though there are regular tournaments for games like StarCraft II or League of Legends on regular TV channels or even stadiums, it still seems a minor part of pop culture.
Talking about esport becoming mainstream:-
I don’t think that esport will become mainstream shortly. However, I believe that it is heading there and that we might see big changes for this part of the culture within the next decade. We can learn a lot from other sports, see how they evolved over the past decades, and apply these lessons to esports. One of the most important changes was professionalizing of popular games. In South Korea, StarCraft became a profession as early as the late 90s, but it took a lot longer for this to happen in Europe and America. League of Legends is on its way there, though more and more tournaments have large prize pools that go into millions of dollars. Once you have a professional scene for a game, it is much easier to attract interest from companies willing to sponsor the tournaments, teams, or players. It also makes organizing them much simpler and cheaper.
Another important change was making sports more accessible to get in touch with the community. I already mentioned that in South Korea, esport had been a part of popular culture for quite some time, but nowadays, this is possible even if you live in a small town because of the internet. In Europe, it took longer for the internet to reach out to people and make them able to keep up with things worldwide. However, today we have multiple ways to do that, and many people can now find everything they need easily. This gives them more opportunities to keep up with things and see the best players live in action if they are lucky enough to have a big tournament nearby.
Is really esport changing with upcoming years or not?
I believe that esport will change significantly over the next couple of years. It is not only growing fast, but it’s expanding in multiple different directions. We can see more and more companies getting interested in it, and this is a good thing for the community because we will get better tournaments and events to watch. It might be that esports doesn’t become mainstream in popular culture, but I hope it at least becomes widely accepted by most people who follow sports. Esport has become a successful business in countries like Korea and China. The audiences for these tournaments are often in the 10’s of thousands. Esport are so successful in Asia that the culture already loves video games, but this isn’t generally true in Western culture. In the future, esport can become mainstream. I think shortly, when there are tournaments with an audience
of 1 million people, and it will be a much more likely possibility.
Talking about success of esport:-
Esport has already become a huge success in countries like Korea and China. Unfortunately, some problems prevent esports from becoming mainstream, such as lack of interest in video games and violence. It can be hard to convince people who don’t already play video games that esport is exciting.
In the future, when there are tournaments with an audience of 1 million people, it will be much more likely to become mainstream than now. I do not think it will ever replace regular sports because their audiences and venues are so different: regular sports have a large stadium, but esport are consumed on a computer or TV screen.