eSports tournaments are events that involve live audience and video games. It could be a complete competition, like the World Cyber Games or part of a larger event, like Dreamhack. There are different formats of eSports, like single or double elimination. eSports competitions usually have officials or referees to monitor cheating. Competition that involves video games is not a new thing, but we saw a big transition in the end of 1990’s. In 1997, the Cyberathlete Professional League was first started. Subsequent tournaments became much bigger and corporate sponsorship became commonplace. eSports started to serve a wider audience. Popular eSports tournaments include World e-Sports Games, Electronic Sports World Cup, North American Major League Gaming and World Cyber Games.
For popular tournaments, the total prize can reach more than a million US dollar. As of September 2016, various DOTA 2 tournaments awarded nearly $90 million in prize money within more than 600 tournaments and 23 players won more than $1 million. In addition to prize money, developers like Riot Games offer salaries for players who participate in League of Legends Championship Series. Valve’s premier DOTA 2 tournament in 2017 broke record by providing the biggest prize pool, amounting to more than S24 million. Prize money is usually provided by game developers, but it is also provided by sponsors, such as computer hardware maker, computer software developer and energy drinks. A tournament is considered as a part of marketing effort and developers usually make no or little money from it.
Some tournaments are held by separate organizers and they will need to negotiate with video game developers. Events of original StarCraft in South Korea are held independently of the development company, Blizzard. The company allows tournaments of the original Starcraft, but Blizzard requires legal authorization for any tournament that features StarCraft 2 with total prize more than $10,000. Riot Games offer various in-game rewards during authorized tournaments. At multi-genre and gaming conventions, eSport competitions have become popular feature. Just like any sports events, players also need to train to win the competition. Casual gaming skill isn’t enough to win the tournament, because it involves many veteran players.
Just like any athelete, eSports player need to undergo intensive training and this could take a lot of time. They need to hone their physical prowess, especially reflex and attention to details. Muscle memory is essential to gain success in eSports tournaments. Many eSports players also consume healthy diet and exercise regularly to keep themselves fit and alert during the tournament. They need to study strategies and check latest updates of the game, to know whether they can take advantage of new changes and features. Most eSports athletes are in their late teens and early 20’s, then retire by their mid or late 20’s. Pro gamers travel a lot and invest on high-end gaming hardware, to ensure that they can win the competition. Competitions are performed over high-speed local area network and there are always live streams, through YouTube or the event’s official website.