The difference between gaming and eSportsis the same as the difference between playing Baseball with your neighbor, and playing for the NY Yankees with a 100 million payment contract. Interestingly enough, if to think about future potential of both gaming and eSports – we bet on eSports. In regular gaming you pay to have fun and spend time with your friends – actual or virtual – and in eSports you get profit from various sources and earn a lot of money, and by ‘a lot’ we mean six-digit a lot.
The Time Affair
Gaming is commonly known as a fun, effortless, spare-time activity, that time when you get rid of your responsibilities and try to forget all of your problems by sitting in your favorite chair and spending hours playing your favorite games. When bedtime comes around, you go to bed and forget about it. In contrast, in eSports, the story is very different, like every professional, you don’t spend time playing for recreation, it is your career and part of your life depend on it. Commitment, responsibility and practice are required for a successful eSports career. Long shifts, camps, coaches, intense training and long-distance journeys are needed to compete: eAthlets play and practice as much as every Football, Soccer, Baseball or MMA star.
The Money Issue
As you know, as a regular gamer you have to save some money to buy your console or build your pc, pay for the game you want to play and nowadays pay for a subscription on your favorite platform. In eSports you play a specific game and compete to be the best and to get the prizes and money. eSports tournaments have been around for decades. The 1990 Nintendo World Championship can be considered as the first ‘formal’ gaming tournament in history. Although Atari arranged some tournaments in the early 80’s some of them were flops – and from that time on, the spectrum, reach, variety and earnings from competitions have climbed immeasurably. Competitions have spread across the globe; we have the EVO series for fighting games like Street Fighter, Tekken, King of Fighters; Call of Duty Championship and Overwatch league for shooters; Dreamhack for various titles, The International, the ultimate tournament for Dota 2 gamers and a lot more. Is important to say that currently, prizes for the winners can reach millions of dollars. With that amount of money on the table, a strong structure of teams, facilities, sponsors and recruiting have become a must for progamers, coaches and team owners.
The Passion Around Digital Competitions
Of course, everybody has experienced excitement while playing games.You struggle to pass that tough level in a favorite title and when you do it, you feel like the king of the world. Well, in eSports the situation is the same, you can maybe argue that there is no way that an eTournament can gather so many passionate people as the Super Bowl, but let us tell you that is precisely the case. The 2018 Superbowl got a ‘physical’ attendance of around 67,000 in a Stadium; the same year, League of Legends Final had a crowd of nearly 50,000 people. As for viewers, both events gathered about 100 million fans. When it comes to memorable moments, eSports have plenty of them. Maybe you don’t remember – or don’t know – but in 1990 a Boxing World Championship took place between JC Chavez and Meldrick Taylor, long-story-short, after a fierce and bloody 35 minute battle, the Mexican champion knocked out Taylor and ended the fight just 2 seconds before the last round – at that moment everyone were sure that Taylor would have won the match by points. Likewise, in 2004, during the EVO tournament Street Fighter semifinal, DaigoUmehara and Justin Wong fought fiercely to obtain the pass to the finals of the competition. Just like in the boxing match above mentioned, the battle ended in an unexpected, over-skillful way. Daigo with no life on his health bar, managed to block the attacks from Justin, with a bunch of millisecond-precision movements and counterattacked with a special combo that ended the fight.
As you can see, regular gaming and eSports are very different, but the same relief and passion that they make us feel are the same. It is equally essential to mention that money has played and keeps playing a crucial role in both.