What is ‘eSports’?

With around 335 million people tuning into eSports events worldwide in 2017, it might be time to get clued up on what it actually is.


Inside of the KeyArena, Seattle, playing host to Dota 2’s The International 2016.

What is eSports?

ESports – also known as competitive video gaming – is the organised competing of online multiplayer video games. Similar to traditional sports, these competitive video games have a series of leagues and tournaments, and are viewed by millions of people. The simplest way to understand it is competitive gaming at a professional level.

If you’re interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, head over to twitch.tv to watch the action.

Which games are eSports?

The two most popular types of eSports currently are first-person shooters and MOBA’s, but a plethora of others are out there too. First-person shooters, also referred to as FPS’s, tend to be team based games, with differing objectives. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the most popular FPS eSport at the moment, with two teams of five taking it in turns defending an objective and attacking it. Along with completing the objective, teams can win by simply eliminating all of the enemy opponents.

MOBA’s (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena’s) share the 5v5 team dynamic, but in these games players have a wide choice of characters to play as, which all have differing abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. League of Legends and Dota 2 are the most popular eSports MOBA’s currently, with the victor being the team that destroys the other teams base first.

These aren’t the only competitive games being played right now. FIFA, online card games, fighting games (Street Fighter), real time strategy games (Starcraft), and other more niche games are out there too.

Why are so many people watching?

Where there’s money, there’s people. Dota 2’s most recent big tournament – The International 2017 – boasted a prize pool of $24 million. This isn’t the only reason so many people are watching right now, but as you can imagine, as the amount of money in the scene rises, the competition, the production, and the quality of the events rise too.


The success of these tournaments is partly due to the tech-raised generation pushing it forward. Many of the viewers of eSports are people who’ve grown up playing these games, so the chance to watch it at the highest level is a no-brainer really. When you have a good understanding of how these games work, the complexity of them makes them all the more appealing.

So, how can I learn about the games so I can watch them?

There’s a nice article over at DotEsports that has a brief rundown of how each game works. Although you might be in the deep end a little bit here, having a scan of this should help.

Ultimately, the best way to get an idea of what is going on is to jump straight into watching. At first it’s going to be hard to follow, but the more you see the more you’ll understand. As mentioned before, the go to platform for eSports is twitch.tv, be sure to check it out.

Playing the titles that interest you most will also give you a sense of how the game works as you learn the mechanics and intricacies yourself. You can download League of Legends or Dota 2 for free, whilst Counter-Strike will cost you £11.99 on the gaming platform Steam.

Happy fragging!


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