For those who are not living under a rock and are actually in 2020, you should probably know about eSports, but for those who are a bit, clueless eSports is a form of competition that takes place on an electronic platform. eSports takes the best in the world at a particular video game and places them up against each other; amassing audiences from around the world in both in-person crowds and people streaming the event online in the comfort of their home. Now, this is not just some hobby these players are true professionals who earn real salaries for their world-class abilities. These athletes train for hours every day and will specialise in separate parts of their game of choice. With the work they put in these eSport athletes are easily on par with the track and field athletes of the real world.
Now, this is no small industry. In 2018 the total eSports audience grew to 380 million. This is three times the number of viewers of the 2018 Superbowl! This, of course, has big sports channels licking their lips; with ESPN signing a deal to broadcast the Overwatch League finals worth over 100 million dollars. eSports athletes are becoming true celebrities; with some athletes having millions of followers on their socials. Games like Team Fortress Two generated 78 million dollars in ad revenue just in this last year alone, with sites like Meta Comps highlighting every team fortress events, it is simply getting bigger than ever. With the sport to be worth at an estimated one billion dollars.
This provides one question, though how has this affected the world of tech? Well, traditional media has had to invest in new technology that can handle the frame rate and bandwidth to broadcast the sport and in order to create a more streamlined product for viewers. This improvement in framerate has allowed for the ability of the actual competitors to improve, as it has allowed for more realistic gameplay. Also, allowing for improvements in the technology used to record said gameplay; for eSports to make a profit they have to have replayability for television, so these re-runs have to be of high quality. It is also imperative that eSports tech keeps up with the required high bandwidth. If an athlete experiences lag, then it is almost certain that it will cost them the game, in eSports every frame counts.
This bandwidth capacity has led to a significant investment in 5G; which will revolutionise gaming. I feel I must add this… No 5g will not kill you; ignore your crazy aunt on Facebook. It will simply make the processing speed of the data transmission significantly faster. This will improve the quality of gamers; as mods will be able to run with ease; without breaking the game. 5G will also improve isolated competitive gaming, there will be a true rise of geolocation gaming which can only help the sport grow and grow.
This investment in 5G will also allow for even more eSports tournaments; as 5G can handle such an immense amount of bandwidth. This means there can be more participants in tournaments and more people will be able to watch events. Allowing for a more dedicated fanbase as a bi-product of more consistent events. 5G will also allow for attendees to interact with the tournament in real-time providing the sport with an immense community spirit.
5G is not the only technological advancement in eSports; the rise of the sport has actually correlated with virtual, augmented and mixed reality technology. Which will immerse the remote spectators into the sport? Companies like Fox Sport have been sampling virtual reality for the viewing experience of eSport fans, even given spectators the option to choose where they will sit in the stands, so no more sitting in the bleachers for you; perhaps even outdoing the in-person experience. It is indescribable what this VR experience is like; from personal experience, it genuinely feels like you are right there at the event in the action; fans will genuinely gather together to watch the sport in virtual reality together. With shared spaces all over America. It must be said that this tech is genuinely revolutionising our sport.
This potential has not gone unnoticed by big tech, with companies like Google and Amazon heavily investing in eSports. This investment can only bring advancements. Google and Amazon have both come out with their own eSport leagues, which offer prize money of over 1 million dollars. It has also been well publicised that these companies are investing in their own VR tech, so evidently they want their slice of the lucrative eSport pie.
As this passage highlights, eSports is an industry that has come on leaps and bounds over recent decades. Not only in its popularity but its technological advancements. The use of 5G will now make eSports competitions both more consistent and competitive. Bringing in even more fan interaction. This is even highlighted by the exciting integration of VR into the sport whose technological potential is unbound. eSports is only bound to grow as the technology and prize money catches up; and who knows maybe one day we will be looking at eSports players as the true athletes; who needs that Superbowl rubbish.