What first comes to your mind when the word Gamer is put forward? Is it something like this?
If yes, you should know that it’s not the situation anymore. Online/ multiplayer gaming or Esports has been around for eons now, but there has been a sudden spike in the number of users this decade. Esports is organized gaming where competitors from different leagues compete against at-home gamers. Some of the most popular e-sports are Dota, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, etc. They are massive multiplayer sports competitions that involve video games instead. Let us take average joe who used to play cricket as a childhood hobby, he surely dreamt of becoming a professional cricketer one day. In a very similar fashion, e-sports provide that platform for gamers. A lot of people watch sports and support their favorite teams. Similarly, we gamers also enjoy watching professional gamers and feel a sense of loyalty towards our favorite teams. Match days are also similar where you sit around with likeminded friends and watch the games together, maybe over some snacks and soda. Where gaming also keeps us hooked in, is by releasing new and fresh content now and then. Whenever you’re bored, there’s always something new to do, and it only hooks you into the game even more. Be it Music Videos, Comics, new maps. You name it, they’ve probably done it.
In India, not only the number of gamers but also the number of e-sports/video game developers has increased exponentially. Of all the gamers, a large proportion is the youth- Gen Z followed by millennials. The worldwide population involved in e-sports is about 600 million which is about 75% higher than that in 2017 out of which about 30% are gamer girls. What’s more, there are amazingly high amounts of winnings in e-sports. With competitions such as The International- Annual Dota 2 championship, World Cyber Games, ESL and also competitions in local gaming hubs, people can make a career out of gaming. The tournaments have millions of viewers at any given time and have gathered ridiculously high amounts of money too. Some professional players can make as much as 2 Million dollars a year. Traditional e-sports titles included League of Legends, Dota 2 and CS GO, while more recent titles like Overwatch, Fortnite, PUBG have taken the world by storm. The streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube have also allowed for the game streams to reach all the audiences far and wide. Many professional players also prefer to stream their games on Twitch for the world to see. Popular game companies such as Riot games have made billions organizing e-sports tournaments. The very fact that e-sports is a 138$ Billion-dollar industry backs up these claims.
The e-sports industry has also supported companies and brands by bringing into spotlight Gaming Laptops, PCs, Mice, Sound systems and other gaming equipment. The improved graphics have made other video games such as Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation more user-friendly and the use of motion sensors has revolutionized the industry. Recently, the Olympics federation has allowed for the inclusion of e-sports in the 2024 Olympics, while this is limited only to games that resemble real-life sports, it does make the future of e-sports seem even brighter. You combine these facts with the increasing accessibility to Computers and the Internet that this generation has and it is not hard to see why e-sports have suddenly appeared out of nowhere as a booming industry.
Apart from all the monetary benefits e-sports/ video games have provided a lot of people a new world where they meet new people with similar hobbies and has helped introverts open up emotionally and psychologically. Online gaming also provides a platform for people to also interact with other humans around the world. This allows you to socialize while not having to leave the comfort of your room.
However, the ease of accessibility that e-sports provide also comes with its cons. It is very easy to get addicted to these games and spend hours at a stretch without noticing. Where traditional sports usually have certain limits and restrictions to when you can play and practice, e-sports do away with all of those and allow for easy, unrestricted access leading to the downfall of many young minds. This leads to a hobby turning into a habit. Unfortunately, the only solution to this right now is self-control. All in all, the past decade has been nothing but fruitful for the e-sports industry and thousands of budding gamers around the world and the statistics prove that. The modern gamer has left behind all stereotypes to be just like any other person.
Article by: Madhura Phansalkar, Akshat Deo, Amit Hegde
Poster by: Kartik Choubisa
Stereotypical Gamer: https://imgur.com/a/UQFYD
Feature Image: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ibm/2020/01/08/how-esports-are-fueling-the-data-economy/#3ae0778235e1)