The Rise of eSports and How It Became the Next Big Thing

Adam Bihi and Leo Veizaga, News Editor and Staff Writer

Have you always dreamed of being paid to play video games? Or to be a star who has millions of fans who adore you and look up to everything you do? Do you want to be a part of a sport, but you aren’t looking to get physical? Perhaps you should attempt to get into the world of eSports if you feel that you are willing to put your thumbs on the line for some hard earned cash.
ESports is a form of competition that involves the use of video games. These competitions take place between avid gamers in any possible game you can think of, from Call of Duty, to League of Legends, to even sports games like the NBA 2K series, which has the notable distinction of becoming the first-ever professional sports league that is a joint venture between two major powerhouses, the NBA and Take-Two Interactive, publishers of NBA 2K. It’s a professional eSports league featuring the best 2K players in the world.
The first known video game competition took place on October 19, 1972 at Stanford University. The game the competitors were playing was Spacewar, and the grand prize was a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone. Eventually in 1980, 10,000 participants competed in the Space Invaders Championship held by Atari. This has been recognized as the first large scale video game competition, helping bring recognition to competitive gaming as a mainstream pastime.
In late 2016, a sports championship event was held in Chicago, drawing 43 million viewers during the series finals. That was 12 million more people than watched the 2016 NBA Finals. This event turned out to be a League of Legends competition. Imagine a world where a video game competition has more viewers than a major sports league championship game—it’s shocking even though video games have been popular for the past 30 years.
One misconception about eSports is the fact that a lot of people don’t consider eSports as a legitimate sport, claiming the lack of “physical activity” and “outdoor playing areas” prevents it from being able to be considered a real sport. But over the last couple of years, eSports has had that assumption broken down with countries such as Turkey and the Philippines offering eSports licenses to players. The popularity has grown so much that the International Olympic Committee had a legitimate discussion about including eSports as a sport in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, but some have argued in defense that activities that require “careful planning, precise timing, and skillful execution,” and therefore should be classified as a sport.
Also the training regimen for some of these teams is rigorous. Some teams have similar plans to professional sports teams, with only a select few that can handle the pro-level regimen required to gain the extensive game knowledge and elite mechanical skills and reflexes to compete. The players on Team Liquid, a professional League of Legends team, practice for a minimum of 50 hours per week and most play the game far more while trying to cram in time to study and practice also.
There have been some rumors lately around the school that some students have been planning on talking to administration in hopes of attempting to start an eSports club that would both be competitive and community focused, meaning that the school could compete for cash prizes in local tournaments and above all, teach newcomers how to play video games. This is something that would benefit the school really well.
Ethan Ton (10) said, “I’m really excited about this possibility of the club, as someone who has played a lot of video games that have been popular in the eSports community, I think that this could be a great opportunity for me and the rest of the students who have had a background in video games. The people with experience could teach the newcomers how to play and in return, they could teach a new generation of students.”
Cristian Camacho (10) remarked, “I’m a big fan of video games, I play games like Rainbow Six Siege and Fortnite which are really big with eSports tournaments and such. I feel that if I were a part of this alleged “club,” I would enjoy it very much and try to influence my friends to join so that we can all have fun together and just chill out and play video games.”
If you are interested in finding out more about the world of eSports, you should watch Twitch and YouTube streams to familiarize yourself with eSports. You may never know, you could one day be selling out basketball arenas with thousands of screaming fans just by using a controller or mouse and keyboard.

Cristian Camacho (10) plays a video game based on Tom Clancy’s book, Rainbow Six.
(Photo courtesy of Jason Camacho)