Though widely disputed if it is indeed sport, e-sports has grown to be one of the most competitive activities to take part in globally.
Attendance of 173,000 enthusiasts is recorded to have filled up stadiums to cheer their peers in world class gaming competitions such as League of Legends, Call of Duty and the extremely popular football-inspired FIFA franchise.
Big players in the tech industry such as Intel, Ben Q and Kingston Hyper X, have joined in the esports movement rallying behind tournament organisers, resulting in massive growth of e-sports events which are increasingly challenging the popular mainstream sports with up to $545,000 in prize money for the winners.
E-sports can be referred to as competitive video gaming. In most cases, they are carried out in form of organised multiplayer video game competitions. From sports-inspired games such as FIFA and NBA 2K to comical fighting games such as Mortal Combat and real-time strategy games, e-sports’ popularity has been on the increase with different groups setting up tournaments to appeal to their audiences.
Globally, the pace for e-sports has been set by pinnacle tournaments such as the, Intel Extreme Masters, which is considered to be the longest running global pro-gaming tour in the world. The competition brings together the world’s best gamers in titles such as Counter-Strike and StarCraft II.
Gaming giants, EA sports have not been left behind as they have organised the FIFA eWorld Cup. The 2018th edition of the tournament saw over 20 million players kicking off to challenge for the trophy with only 32 making it to the final leg and heading to the O2 Arena to battle it out for the $250,000 U top prize and to be crowned the undisputed FIFA 18 champion of the world.
Locally, gaming tournaments set up by groups such as Pro Series Gaming, Vivid Gold and Tekken 254 have grown considerably in following, especially to a more creative youth population looking for exciting new activities to take part in.
Even though they are still in their early days, e-sports tournaments have attracted a number of sponsors from the technology and events sectors with brands such as Liquid Telkom, NRG radio, Asus, Blaze, and What’s Good studios throwing their weight behind some of the pioneering e’sports tournaments
Growth in e-sports is bringing about a creative youth who are looking at gaming as a career choice.
Sylvia Gathoni Wahome made history by becoming the first Kenyan pro gamer to be signed to a reputable eSports club, catching many surprise since gaming has been a male dominated field of interest
The massive growth in e-sports can be accredited to a number of factors, but the main driving force is its ability to attract partners who recognise its potential to tap into a growing market of gamers while making its mark among the most competitive events of modern times.
Mr Nyabera is a technology and creative writer at Protel Studios. Email [email protected]