What is Esports?
You may have come across the term Esports before, but what does it mean? Simply put, it stands for electronic sports, which is a competitive sport that involves video games. Once seen as a hobby or pastime, this entertaining industry has become worth over one billion dollars.
What are the Esports Games?
There are many different genres of Esports games, and they all share a common factor. They are all competitive multiplayer games in which an individual or team of gamers take on other players to win the game. Massive prize pools are up for grabs to the best placing teams, and the betting opportunities attract many punters looking to expand on their earning potential.
Types of Games
Esports attract gamers from many different genres, who want to be the best and reach the top. Competitive players generally specialize in a specific style of game. Here are the main Esports categories:
Shooters or combat orientated games are one of the most popular choices, which gamers can play in the first-person or third-person viewpoint. Games like Call of Duty are played in first-person, while Fortnite is third-person. Each game offers a unique set of strategies that a player must possess to win, which attracts different player styles and calibers.
Sports games simulate the sports we have all come to love and watch. The most popular sports video games are FIFA and NBA 2K, which allows two or more players to play against each other in a virtual match.
There are many other genres of games that have become competitive, including high-level strategic games such as Dota and card-based games like Hearthstone.
Popular Esport games
Over the last two decades, Esports has become hugely popular, with tournaments offering increasingly large prize pools. Of course, with so much attention, gaming companies are doing their best to make their game the most popular within that specific genre.
Below are some of the top competitive Esports games currently available:
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike is a first-person combat game series that came out in 1999. The video game first came about as a multiplayer modification to the popular Valve game, Half-Life.
The latest installment of this series is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS: GO for short. The goal of each match is for one team to either eliminate the other side or complete its side’s mission.
There are two different teams: the terrorists and counter-terrorists. The terrorists must plant a bomb at one of two sites and defend it. The counter-terrorists must stop the bomb from being placed or defuse the bomb before the end of the round.
Overwatch is a combat-oriented game that sees two sides battle it out on a map, each equipped with a specific goal, which can include defending a vehicle or location for some time from the other team.
Overwatch brings a unique factor to the multiplayer combat experience, allowing each player to select a character with special powers. The best teams manage to synchronize their gameplay and use each unique ability to turn the tides in their favor.
Dota 2, or Defence of The Ancients 2, is one of the most popular Esports games out there, boasting millions of players worldwide. Tournaments are often crowdfunded and have seen prize pools of up to $30 million, making Dota 2 the most lucrative Esports game to date.
In this game, players select from a large pool of heroes and, as a team, try to defeat the other team’s base.
Valorant is an upcoming Esports game, set to release sometime in 2020. A closed version of the game has been released, but only selected players can currently participate. Although not easily accessed, Valorant has become very popular on streaming services such as Twitch, attracting over 1.73 million viewers with over 128 million hours of gameplay watched so far.
Valorant is very similar to Counter-Strike. The most significant difference is that each player selects a hero with unique powers. The 5v5 match is then played with the object of the game for one side to defend and the other side to attack.
Popular Esports Events
If 2019 is anything to go by, then 2020 should hold some exciting Esports events. The most popular of these events so far has to be the Fortnite World Cup, which saw over $100 million distributed in prize money, not to mention the millions of viewers that tuned in to watch the event.
Other popular events worth noting are the League of Legends World Championship, the Call of Duty World League, and the Overwatch League. Each event offers substantial cash prizes and hundreds of thousands of viewers, if not millions.
Betting on Esports
Attracting huge audiences and offering significant cash prizes, it’s no surprise that Esports betting is on the rise. The competitive scene is bustling with favorites and new players alike, making it a punters paradise.
As with online sports betting, you can place different types of bets on Esports, such as spread bets and moneyline bets, with competitive odds offered.
Is Esports betting/gambling legal in the US?
Betting on Esports is legal in the US. However, it is not legal in all states, but most states that permit sports betting have started to include Esports as well.
There are still a lot of uncertainties in the majority of states regarding Esports betting. This is due to some states listing esports as legal, while other states not explicitly mentioning Esports within their legislation. It’s best to check your state’s gambling legislation to make sure Esports is regulated by your local legislature.
Where is Esports betting legal?
To date, the states allowing real money bets on Esports are:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
All other states, such as Pennsylvania, are still unclear on the legality of Esports betting. The only state to clearly list Esports betting as illegal is Indiana.
How does Esports betting work?
As discussed earlier, Esports betting works very similarly to traditional sports betting. Betting types such as outright winner, group winner, handicap bets, over/under, total rounds, and region winner are all available.
On top of these traditional betting types, each game can offer specific betting types. These betting types are unique to each game, which is due to the vast range of Esports genres. For example, First Blood refers to the individual or team getting the first kill of the game.
Watching Esports in the US
As Esports rises in popularity, so do the facilities offering fans and punters an opportunity to watch tournaments live. Most streaming services offer live streaming of Esports events as well as sportsbooks,
Where to watch Esports
If you’re looking to bet on a specific tournament and find that the sportsbook you placed your wager at doesn’t offer live streaming - don’t fret. You can search for the event on popular streaming platforms such as Twitch and Youtube.
How to watch Esports
As we mentioned above, there are plenty of streaming services that broadcast live events. To view a game, you’ll need to create a free account at the minimum.
What channel is Esports on?
There is no specific channel to watch Esports. Instead, there are a variety of platforms that you can choose from to watch an Esports event.
How to make money betting on Esports
Now that you know where to watch Esports, it's time to figure out how to make money betting on Esports. As with any other gambling game, your first port of call is to understand the rules. With so many different types of games available, you need to figure out which genre you find most interesting.
Once you find the right game, a bit of research, or even giving the game a bash yourself will help you figure out the mechanics. Then, you’re all set to start placing bets.
How to invest in Esports
If you want to take things to the next level and invest in Esports, you’ll need to look at the top gaming companies on the stock exchange. Some Esports companies worth looking at include:
- Take-Two Interactive Software
- Nvidia Corp
- Activision Blizzard
- Electronic Arts
How do Esports teams and organizations make money?
Esports teams usually make money by winning tournaments, along with donations received through live streams on gaming platforms such as Twitch. Due to large viewerships, these teams also make money through marketing and sponsored ads.
The Esports Industry
The Esports industry has increased in popularity over the last 30 years due to technology and the Internet. With millions of gamers flocking to the next big game, the main question was always, who is the best at...? Esports was the answer to that question and now allows the best gamers from around the world to compete against each other.
When did Esports become popular?
Esports boomed around the world when Twitch, a platform that allows players to live stream games, launched in 2011, with games like LoL and DOTA 2 attracting millions of viewers.
How much is the Esports industry worth?
Are you ready? The global Esports industry is estimated to be worth $1.1 Billion in 2020.
Who owns Esports?
There is no specific owner of Esports, as that’s like asking who owns poker or soccer. The Esports industry is made up of numerous gaming companies like Epic Games and Tencent.
What are the major Esports companies?
The largest gaming companies involved in Esports worth taking note of are:
Who’s investing in esports?
You might be surprised, but big names such as Drake and Michael Jordan have indicated their investment into the billion-dollar industry. Will you be joining them?
Esports in Numbers
How does Esports fare when it comes down to crunching the figures? Let’s find out.
How many people watch Esports?
According to reports, the global audience of Esports in 2018 was 380 million. It is projected to see over 557 million viewers by 2021.
What are the biggest Esports Events?
The biggest Esport event so far is the LoL World Championship, which became the most-viewed Esports event of 2019. Another significant event worth noting is the Fortnite World Cup, which also took place in 2019.
Richest Esports organizations
The top two most prosperous organizations in Esports are currently Newbee and Chaos Esports Club. Newbee is involved in DOTA 2 (formerly LoL), while Chaos Esports Club is engaged in DOTA 2 and Fortnite.
Highest earning players
The top three highest earners in Esports history so far are:
- Johan Sundstein “N0tail” winning $6.8 million in Dota 2
- Kyle Giersdorf “Bugha” winning $3 million in Fortnite
- Andreas Højsleth “Xyp9x” winning $1.7 million in CS: GO
History of Esports
Let’s check out the history of Esports below.
When did Esports start?
The first documented Esports tournament can be traced back to a Spacewar competition held in 1972.
How long has Esports been around?
Esports came to life when video games became a reality. As stated above, the first video game tournament can be traced back to 1972. This would mean that esports has been around for 48 years or so.
Who invented Esports?
Although nobody has been given full credit with the invention of Esports, a large portion has been accredited to Blizzard’s game Starcraft, which is a gaming company now owned by Activision.
When was the first tournament?
The first Esports tournament was held by Stamford University in 1972, allowing students to compete in a game called Spacewar.