19 Apr The Rise Of eSports, Twitch, And, YouTube Gaming
Video games have been a favorite pastime of a wide range of people for decades, and while they were initially within the purview of geeks and gamers alone, they have since become part of mainstream culture. From hardcore MOBAs to casual mobile games, there’s something in the market for everyone, and the audience for gaming has never been greater. Accompanying this rise in public acceptance and prevalence of gaming has been a rise in eSports and platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming – allowing talented professionals to take what was once a hobby and turn it into a full-blown career.
While competitive gaming has been around in some form or another since the invention of video games themselves, the arena surrounding eSports has come a long way since the days of arcade high scores. There’s a multi-million dollar industry surrounding eSports, and those who prefer to take an entertainment avenue rather than focus on being the best of the best have also build a large following for themselves on streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming. The ability to support oneself by playing video games has long been a dream of many a gamer, but only recently has it started to show itself as a viable career. While very few people are making a livable income from Twitch streaming or YouTube Gaming – and even fewer still making a living from competitions – it’s more of an option than it was before, and should only become more and more viable as eSports make their way further into mainstream culture.
Games like Counterstrike and other first-person shooters, fighting games like Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros, as well as RTS games like Starcraft, have been a staple in the competitive industry for years at this point – but the big money started to come in with the introduction of the MOBA arena with games like League of Legends and DOTA 2. DOTA 2, in fact, holds the record for the highest prize pool in eSports history – funneling out millions of dollars to competitors with their unique crowdfunding techniques. Both games continue to be a staple for Twitch and YouTube gaming streamers as well, and there are dozens of professionals that enjoy quite a comfortable life by turning on their stream and entertaining their viewers with top-notch gameplay and appropriate commentary. DOTA 2 and League of Legends are an example of some of the huge amounts of money that can be poured into eSports – making it a business as much as it is entertainment.
In 2018, however, DOTA 2 and League of Legends are far from the only name in the game. One of the biggest eSports in recent years only came into being a couple years back – that game being Overwatch. As one of Blizzard’s major cash cows, Overwatch is responsible for a huge amount of Twitch and YouTube Gaming streams, and there are a huge amount of personalities that have amassed a gigantic following for their combination of skill and entertaining commentary. Blizzard has really paved the way for the future of eSports, however, with the recent introduction of the Overwatch League widely considered to be one of the best eSports tournaments in history. With multiple Twitch broadcasts a week, thousands of fans tune in in the evening to watch the best gamers around compete for fame and fortune as they battle it out in an action-packed FPS environment.
In pretty much any competitive team-based game with a thriving community, there are now a number of professional rosters that employ the best of the best to vie for the top spot. Over the last few years, eSports has become more like traditional sports than in name alone, with corporate sponsors and teams that are run like a business rather than a set of amateur gamers trying to make it big. While these eSports professionals may not be getting rich from competition alone, the fame leads to fortune through donations and subscriptions on platforms like YouTube gaming and Twitch, where fans donate in order to feel a part of a community that is rallying together to support their favorite streamer. These platforms, while host to a number of amateur gamers who are trying to earn some beer money here or there are also the main revenue driver for the majority of high-end players. As such, the relationship between platforms like Twitch and eSports leagues is symbiotic, with streaming platforms providing a high quantity of viewers to these professional leagues and taking a cut of donations in return.
Although eSports is where a lot of the money goes as far as sponsorships and winnings, there is a significant portion of gamers who have leveraged their gameplay skills combined with an entertaining personality to carve out a niche for themselves on Twitch. Relying on entertaining gameplay rather than trying to be the best of the best gave rise to a collection of all-star entertainers that make a significant amount of money from Twitch and YouTube gaming. The world of eSports is stressful, and while a large portion of these high-end streamers may have the skills they need in order to compete at that sort of level, many opt for a more relaxed schedule where they make money on their own terms at the whims of their audience.
When eSports first got its start, many scoffed at the idea of the word “sports” being attached to playing video games, but the industry is quickly becoming mainstream and the skills and dedication of these players becoming more and more apparent. While some talent is necessary, these eSports professionals spend day in and day out practicing and honing their skills – just like an athlete preparing for the Olympics. The majority of eSports professionals and teams have sponsors at this point, too, which is another parallel between the eSports gamer and the traditional sports star. Moving forward into the future, the influence of eSports will be impossible to deny. As with any kind of sporting event with a huge amount of funding and entertainment value, fans flock to Twitch and YouTube Gaming to enjoy what the best players in the world have to offer.
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