I heard a lot of misunderstanding about esports at my old job, and even within the industry there's some misconceptions. So here's a slither of the basics for a lot of the things I'd frequently hear misunderstood.
Before we get into the list though - here's some fundamentals:
Esports = Sports... but with videogames
Esports = Competitive
Gaming = for fun
How to spell esports?
Alright with that out the way let's get into it.
1. Esports is new -
Well esports in terms of competitive gaming is as old as gaming itself. When researchers made Spacewar in 1972 they hosted a tournament. the winner got a year's subscription to rolling stone magazine.
ABOVE: A national Space Invaders championship game in 1981
2. Esports is massive -
Mmmm yes and no. Yes peak viewership is huge. Worlds in 2021 had nearly 74 million viewers, vs the superbowl that had 11 million. But just because it's big at the top doesn't mean it's as big across the board at all level. Additionally that's for league of legends, and very few lol viewers will watch other esports titles. It's like with sports, just because someone watches football doesn't mean they're gonna watch tennis and rugby and curling as well. some people do, but it's not the norm.
That all being said. What makes esports viewership most exciting compared to sports, is it's growth.
3. There's no such thing as an esports fan -
Same as above. very very very very few people follow all of esports. And the difference between 13 year old kid from singapore that plays Clash royale vs 45 year old man from Kentucky who loves call of duty... big difference in consumer and fandom.
4. Sports and Esports are unrelated -
Lots of sports teams and investors have cross over with esports. They recognize the similarities in fandom and it's identified that younger generation are losing interest in traditional sport so the businesses are being forced to adapt
ABOVE: Lakers Gaming practicing for the NBA 2k League
5. Esports is the same as the games industry. -
Nope. They're parallel industries. Esports is a competitive entertainment product that uses videogames. The games industry makes the games themselves.
Only comparison is the food and packaging industry. Food gets packaged up to look pretty and consumed in a different way, but food is different from packaging, and if you had packaging without food you wouldn't have a product... Maybe not my best analogy but you get the idea.
6. Esports aren't just video game versions of sports. -
In fact, the biggest esports titles have nothing to do with sports. League of Legends, Dota, CSGO. Completely unrelated to sports. Meanwhile Fifa (EA Sports FC), NHL, Madden are all pretty low in terms of viewership as an esport.
Fortnite is a popular game amongst younger competitors especially and has more in common with hunger games than football.
7. All esports athletes are rich -
Just like anything at the top top level. The best of the best can make a lot of money, but the % of people that make it to that level and stay at that level for long is very small. there at 180 million monthly active lol players. Only 110 make it to worlds, and that's 5 players per team. So one team wins the $6.5million prize pool. I'd guess you'd have better chances winning survivor.
8. Players have staff that support them -
Just like an athlete, esports competitors have coaches, analysts, managers, psychologists, physicians, agents, chefs and more. Not at every level though. Just like sport it's only the best that get this level of help, in order to stay the best for the longest time possible.
That's where I'll leave things for now, but there's always more questions people have. It's still a very new concept to a lot of people so asking questions is a good thing! And if you're someone who already knows the answers make sure you don't gate keep.
If you found this helpful share it with a colleague and bookmark the tab. If you want more info send us a message, we'd love to see what we can do to help you further in esports!
Dale R Murray
Owner & Creative Director | Croft