The phenomenon many people know today as “eSports” is quickly overtaking many of today’s top sports such as football, basketball, and baseball. Now, many people will think, “can a virtual world really overtake the world’s largest actual sports?” Well yes, yes it can. Numbers have projected that the growth of eSports will grow 52% this year alone in revenue. However, with such popularity, always has a humble beginning.
There are various stories that relate back to the true “origins”. Some will say it derived from tournaments revolving around PC games in the early 2000’s, and others will say it goes all the way back to the late 80’s with space invader. “The Big Boom of Gaming” as I like to refer to it as, is what I believe to be the actual cause. In 2002, “Major League Gaming” or commonly referred to as “MLG”, was founded. Various matches took place over the course of the early years of eSports. Two titles towered over the rest in popularity and quickly gained their thrown a ‘top the gaming world.
Halo is considered one of the original first-person shooters that gave light into the genre. In 2006, MLG took gaming to yet another level by being the first to televise a gaming tournament in the United States. That very game happened to be Halo 2. Despite the fact it wasn’t all that successful, it still built a solid ground for eSports to grow as a hole. Halo still had many ways to grow as the next installment in the series, Halo 3, would quickly become the most beloved of the franchise and by far one of the most successful. Although some of the newer titles still don’t seem to compare to the originals that launched competitive gaming into the mainstream, it is still one of the more active eSport titles out there to date.
Call of Duty (CoD)
Today, Call of Duty is seen as one of the most popular gaming franchises in history. Around 2007 though, is when the popularity of the FPS began to take shape. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, or commonly referred to as CoD 4 took online multiplayer to the next level. Before this, most competitive gaming was done either on PC or Halo for console. When Infinity Ward lead the way with reinventing the once overpopulated genre of World War II, into something fresh and slick in design. The final overall product lead to the massive growth of not only Call of Duty, but FPS’s as a whole. Today, Call of Duty is by far one of the most, if not the top gaming franchise in history. Although many of the newer titles still receive harsh criticism, it still has a massive fan base and profits skyrocket with every new release.
Where Does it Go From Here?
Love them or hate them, first-person shooters are what really brought competitive gaming into the spotlight amongst most hardcore gamers and casual fans alike. While eSports is growing at a massive rate, incomparable to any other sport, it does have somewhat of a path carved for itself. Titles like League of Legends and Dota 2, which are more of an RPG type game, are growing at a rapid rate, reaching to people all across the globe. FPS’s like CS:GO still maintain their spot high upon the mountain with engagement and tournaments themselves growing like wildfire. Even new games like Overwatch are quickly finding themselves in the vast market of eSports. While the future of what games will come about and take their thrown in eSports, one thing is for sure, the popularity and profit it gains daily is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.