From July 18th through the 21st, 16 professional teams battled in a popular PC video game at the DotA 2 International 2014 for the chance at an 11 million dollar crowd-funded prize pool, and had a record of 2 million concurrent viewers; that’s double this year’s Super Bowl. Watching other people play video games, professionally or otherwise, isn’t entirely uncommon as largest YouTuber in the world, with 29 million subscribers, uploads namely video game content. In 1972 the first professional video game tournament began, and in recent years eSports, as they’re commonly referred to, have grown rapidly due to streaming sites such as Twitch.tv. Unlike traditional sports such as soccer or cycling, playing pro video games requires more mental skill than physical skill, akin to a game of chess. No matter the game people tune in to watch others play at the highest level.
These large numbers and this competitive community isn’t going unnoticed from mainstream entertainment, ESPN2 broadcasted the highlights of the DotA TI4, and ESPN teamed up with MLG, Major League Gaming, to bring eSports to the X Games in Austin, Texas this past June. Thanks to video game developers and event hosts lobbying, athletic visas are being granted to those who play these games professionally to stay in the US for extended training periods or multiple competitions, as a traditional sports player might get. With all this attention and enormous growth it appears that eSports are here to stay, and will only rise higher.
Photo Source: mashable