The Top 3 Facts About eSports
One of the biggest trends in the past 5 years has been the rise of eSports from niche streams on twitch into the international juggernauts that we know today. That said, if you’re outside the eSports scene, or even within it and don’t quite know the numbers, there are some shocking statistics attached to the growth and play of eSports around the world. Whether it’s about some of the crazy money getting involved, or the amount of people watching, the eSports scene has tons of interesting things you need to learn and know if you want to understand eSports.
1. Teams Can Win 30,000,000 Dollars from one Event
Right now, in eSports MOBA game DoTA 2 has the highest prize pool for any one event. Namely, ‘The International’ which had a prize pool of 34,000,000 dollars in 2019, and has a projected prize pool of over 14,000,000 dollars for their 2021 event. This makes the International by far the highest purse in eSports. For comparison, that’s as much as 3 of Golf’s Majors, all in one week. It’s a truly crazy amount of money for the players involved.
One thing that greatly differs from Traditional sports when it comes to these crazy prize pools, is that a lot of these numbers are community driven as opposed to directly provided by sponsors. Though there are certainly companies that put up a large amount of the Prize Pool, the International is specifically partially funded by players purchasing in-game cosmetics for their personal DoTA 2 accounts. That would be like buying a Jersey contributing to the overall Prize Pool of the World Cup.
This isn’t the case for every eSport, as some of the other large ones like League of Legends have their prize pools completely made by the main companies and sponsors, but it is an interesting development and strategy that has transformed into major publicity for the eSports themselves, and major profits for the players involved.
2. All eSports Are Unisex
Looking at an average eSports team it might seem like there is a gender divide similar to how there is in traditional sports, but this isn’t the case for all eSports. In most cases there is either a single open league in which any gender is allowed, or there are some eSports like the shooter Valorant that have their own smaller female only leagues to promote female players.
That said, eSports do tend to be quite male dominated, with female players being far and away an exception as opposed to a rule.
Unlike traditional sports there aren’t biological factors involved in eSports performance that would differentiate between the sexes, but rather there are some social factors. Video Games, overall, are seen as a more male hobby generally, which means that there are more male players entering the game and potentially pursuing eSports as a career. This also ends up fostering an environment where boys are the norm, which can make it hard to enter the game as a girl.
That said, as we mentioned there are eSports that are working on changing this. Valorant, a game made by Riot Games who own League of Legends, has a female only competitive division called Game Changers that they give a lot of publicity to help normalize female eSports players. With initiatives like this, it probably won’t be long until eSports is one of the few places where men and women truly compete side by side and against one another in a sport.
3. It’s Not Really One Sport
If eSports is counted as an overall category, it’s going to be the 4th most viewed sport in the world, lagging just behind the massive Formula 1, but this is a common misconception about eSports. eSports isn’t a single frame, and there are very few, if any, eSports fans in the world.
Due to the broad nature of video games there are dozens of different distinct games within eSports that are essentially sports within themselves. For some viewers, eSports means chess-like games like Starcraft 2, for others it means single player games like Fortnite. From shooters to MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas) eSports are as, or more diverse than traditional sports. They are all just competitive games that happen to share the digital space.
This misconception is what can make eSports hard to understand, as someone trying to jump into eSports as a whole is going to have a bad time. There are simply too many rules and ideas to learn if you’re trying to understand every game that is happening at once. Instead eSports is often divided into small subsections like Fighting games and Shooters, with fans within those subsections often only watching or following the players in a single game.
Even games that are very similar in playstyle, like League of Legends and DoTA, have fans that rarely watch the other sports, in fact, they often see the other game as a rival!