Benedict Lim had to experience a dilemma between undergoing a school exam and going to compete in the eSport The International match held in Germany. Finally, he decided to fly to Germany with his team. While his family was out against it. After all, Benedict remained determined to compete.
Benedict’s story took place in 2011. At that time, he and his team, the Scythe will compete for USD1 million through the Dota 2 match. Although in the end, Benedict and his team had to settle for third.
The story above illustrates how the activity of playing games, by most people is still seen as something less useful. In fact, technological progress has been qualified to put the game as one of the branches of competition that should be appreciated.
Increasing the degree of a game from ordinary games to a match that is widely recognized requires considerable time. The long journey itself began in the 1970s.
The first eSport match was held in October 1972 at Stanford University. At that time, Stanford students competed in a video game called Spacewar. The prizes offered are quite tempting for the student class, which is a subscription to the Rolling Stones magazine for a full year. In the Spacewar match, there were two competing categories, namely individuals and teams consisting of two people.
Eight years ago, Atari held a similar competition, but on a larger scale with the Space Invader game. Recorded, there were 10,000 participants in the race held by Atari. The program attracted the attention of many media, apart from the large number of participants, but also because Space Invader was a popular game at the time. From here, the image of the game as a hobby began to shift into a competition.
Throughout the 80s, arcade games were the only games that were contested. The concept of the match is to beat the highest score recorded in the game. Titles like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong are two games that are often contested. If you want to count, there are 133 episodes of arcade game matches that were broadcast on television throughout the period 1982-1984.
The football competition doesn’t stop there. The emergence of the internet has finally opened a new chapter for the game industry. The competition happened again. Red Annihilation holds a First Person Shooter (FPS) game tournament called Quake.
The Quake tournament was attended by 2,000 participants. Although the numbers are not as massive as the Atari tournament, the tournament was successfully lined up as ‘the first true eSport match’. At that time, alternative new genres emerged to compete.
Talking about eSport, it feels incomplete if you haven’t discussed the Starcraft game. This game has a big contribution in the history of world eSport. Starcraft is said to be an eSport game that requires extra skills, namely strategy. Starcraft is a RTS (Real time strategy) game that is contested, long before the appearance of the MOBA.
There is one clue when the term eSport is used. In the 2000s, two major organizations emerged, namely the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) and World Cyber Games (WCG). Both are known to hold massive eSports tournaments in various parts of the world. If added together, there are more than 800,000 participants who were initiated by WCG in 78 countries.
The ESWC is even more extreme. They even treat eSport players like athletes and games that are played like sports in general. Although it is not known how the “service” given by the ESWC to its athletes, this is enough to illustrate how the world began to look at eSport.
Throughout the 2000s, eSport grew very massive, ranging from the number of spectators to the prizes given in each match. The number of matches held was even more shot. There are 10 big matches counted in 2000, and in 2010 there were 260 major eSport matches held throughout the world.
Various parties, both the audience and the media seemed enchanted by the presence of eSport tournaments in various parts of the world. Various television stations began broadcasting the eSport match.
One country that is quite dedicated to the presence of eSport is South Korea. This ginseng country even provides a special television channel to broadcast various eSport matches. The spread was increasingly widespread, in Germany, UK, France and even the United States began to be interested in broadcasting eSport matches throughout the 2000s.
A fresh breeze blows when the streaming application appears to watch eSport in real time. Yes, Twitch debuted in 2011 which specifically facilitated game players to broadcast the game. The number of viewers exploded when Steam held The International event. Spectators on Twitch counted through the 4.5 million mark. Each audience at least watched for two hours.
The eSport competition event began to move, from desktop devices to consoles. A number of game companies are starting to consider the potential of their game to be competed in the eSport competition. Nintendo began holding eSport events with the Super Smash Bros game using the Wii U console. Halo held the Halo League, as did Blizzard Entertainment and Riot Games.
Some games won their highest popularity throughout the 2000s and successfully advanced to the stage of the match, including DOTA 2, League of Legend, Starcraft II, CS: GO, and Call of Duty.
The bright future of eSport stretches ahead. Various people began to claim to be professional game players and compete in various eSport matches in various parts of the world.
The long journey of eSport to be recognized is not without obstacles. Many pros and cons behind it. In the Cambridge dictionary, sport is defined as a game, competition or activity that requires physical effort and skills that are played or performed according to rules, for pleasure and / or work. Based on this definition, the presence of eSport as a “sports” branch has drawn controversy.
eSport is seen as an activity that does not involve physical activity. Because, an eSport athlete just sits facing the monitor then moves the mouse and presses the keyboard to win a match.
Some who oppose eSport as a “sport” compare it to existing sports, such as soccer, basketball or tennis. All three put great pressure on the physical players.
In fact, eSport requires the same criteria as sports in general. An eSport player requires physical stamina, mental strength, skill and the right strategy to win a match.
Like other athletes, eSport players also hold regular training sessions, including stamina training to undergo long matches. Studying strategies is also an exercise that must be followed by an eSport player.
Because of the strong rejection of eSport, President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach once stated that eSport was considered contrary to Olympic regulations and sports values in general.
Fortunately, Goddess Fortuna was still in favor of the eSport player. Instead of being silenced, eSports is actually growing. The number of users is increasing, the tournament is getting bigger.
The moment of the 2018 Asian Games is the biggest turning point for the eSport world. For the first time, eSport was competed in a sports event. Although it is only an exhibition, it is evident that eSport is a branch worthy of competition in the sports week.
At the Asian Games, several games that are contested are Arena of Valor, Clash Royale, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Pro Evolution Soccer, and Starcraft II, with 18 countries participating in this branch.
The popularity of eSports actually doesn’t stop on desktop devices only. The development of smartphones also supports eSport adoption throughout the world. Moreover, some cell phone vendors openly stated that they made a special cellphone for playing games.
Some desktop games are also adapted for mobile devices. Call it PUBG Mobile and Fortnite which are currently on the rise. In addition, several other games that are already popular and have their own competitions are also growing. For example, Vainglory, Arena of Valor, Mobile Legend and Clash Royale are already popular before PUBG penetrated the mobile platform.
The rapid development of the mobile platform is demonstrated by a number of eSport tournaments held for mobile devices. AOV, for example, has held 3 international matches within 2 years. Two of them were held in 2017 which are regional in the Asian region only, and the AOV World Cup involving large teams from Asia, Europe and America. This game is also one of the games competed in the 2018 Asian Games.
Talking about eSport on a mobile platform, of course we will not be able to let go of the views of PUBG Mobile. The game that is already popular in this PC version is also loved by mobile platform users. The first international event has just finished, namely PUBG Mobile Star Challenge involving the popular streamers of PUBG Mobile. Well, in each country, Tencent also held a competition called PUBG Campus Championship for students.
Undeniably, the interest in competition in the game has increased. Especially with many matches being held to match each player’s abilities. Both desktop, console and mobile platforms, eSport expansion is increasingly felt.
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