Whilst video gaming is one of the biggest growth industries in the entertainment sphere, it has also been making real inroads into the world of sport thanks to the advent of competitive gaming.
Competitive gaming has rapidly grown in the past decade to the point where it now draws thousands of spectators to special tournaments, creates superstar video gamers with huge sponsorship deals, and has even become a fixture on our terrestrial television screens.
Although video gaming as a spectator sport existed in various niche realms in the 1990s, it wasn’t until the advent of fast internet connections that competitive gaming really took off. The speed and ease with which players could instantly game with each other around the world swiftly led to the development of huge annual competitive gaming events such as Dreamhack that takes its huge video game playing festival around Europe, and will soon be making its first American appearance in 2016.
Of course, it’s not just the tournaments that have led to the massive success of competitive gaming, as many video game streaming sites such as Twitch.tv has helped create many famous video games players. And similarly, there is now a whole betting industry that has developed around this new sport with the likes of Betway offering the latest competitive gaming odds on a range of leagues and tournaments.
The increased amount of money that is being pumped into competitive gaming has also led to the emergence of the professional games player. Pro gamers earn their money from the increasingly-lucrative earnings from gaming tournaments that frequently feature prize pools that are in the realm of millions of pounds, as well as sponsorship deals with a range of companies from software publishers to energy drinks manufacturers.
However, there have been many who have seen more than few negative effects from the rapid rise of this fledgling industry. Many pro gamers have repeatedly suffered from a so-called ‘burn-out’ as a result of spending days on end in front of their screens. And similarly, the financial instability of such a new format has also led to some questioning the pressure that is put on professional competitive gamers.
But with the traditional realm of sports broadcasting showing a much greater interest in competitive gaming, and Sony recently announcing their latest competitive gaming platform, it looks like this is an activity that will not be going away anytime soon.