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eSports

The Game Awards 2023: The Rise of eSports from Start to Finish

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The rise of eSports

In the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment, few industries have witnessed a meteoric rise quite like eSports. What once started as a niche in the gaming world has now grown into a global sensation, captivating both amateur and professional players with its competitive events, life-changing cash prizes, and viewership figures in the hundreds of millions. Domain and hosting experts Fasthosts has compiled a brief overview of the rise of eSports, and competitive gaming throughout the years, and where the future may take the industry.

The Start of Competitive Gaming

eSports, at its core, revolves around competitive video gaming, and has experienced exponential growth over the past five decades. The earliest known gaming competition stems back to 1972, when Stanford University hosted a contest featuring the science fiction rocket game ‘Spacewar’. The event – orchestrated by sports reporter Stewart Brand – showcased the potential of video games as an “exhilarating spectator sport”, setting the stage for what was to come.

The Slow but Steady Rise

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For several decades, the popularity of eSports experienced a gradual rise. In the pre-internet era, arcade tournaments provided the battleground for players, with magazines and record books recognising top players’ achievements. The 1990s marked a turning point as gaming tournaments began to gain traction, offering increasingly substantial prize pools. The technological advancements in video game consoles, and internet and PC gaming paved the way for a prosperous decade for the industry. At the end of the 90s we saw the internet cafe boom where young players would meet and play together in PC cafes, which was the start of the strong youth social gaming culture you see today.

The New Millennium

It was the early 2000s that witnessed the true birth of eSports as leagues and tournaments started to take shape around iconic titles like Counter-Strike, StarCraft, and Warcraft III. In 2001, the first World Cyber Games was held in Seoul. The tournament featured several popular games and attracted over 174,000 participants from 17 countries, making for an unexpected global success. In 2005, the CPL World Tour or Cyberathlete Professional League became the first event to have a prize pool offering over $1 million, demonstrating the start of life changing prizes that go hand in hand with competitive gaming.

Streaming Platforms: The Catalyst for Growth

From 2010 onwards, the world witnessed the revolutionary impact of online streaming platforms like Twitch.tv and Youtube Gaming, leading to skyrocketing eSports viewership figures. When Twitch launched, the ‘League of Legends’ world championship viewership figures went from 1.7 million in 2011 to 8.2 million in 2012, and to 32 million in 2013.

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These streaming platforms connected fans worldwide, allowing them to tune into live events from home. The large viewing figures, advertising, and sponsorship opportunities led to investors starting their own teams, and household game developers creating leagues and tournaments. It became standard for eSports events to attract millions of viewers, and the landscape of competitive gaming had been transformed.

The Summit

In 2015, eSports reached a defining moment with The International 2015: Dota 2 Championships. The prize pool offered a staggering $18 million, breaking records and solidifying eSports’ place on the global stage. This marked a monumental shift, proving that tournaments could rival traditional sports events in terms of both prize money and profitability.

The New Decade: eSports Takes Centre Stage

As the calendar turned to the 2020s, eSports entered a new era. The decade began with some of the largest tournaments in history, attracting millions of spectators and providing the largest prize pools seen to date such as The 2021 International Dota 2 Championships which took place in Bucharest Romania, offering a $40,018,400.00 prize pool – the largest prize at the time.

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By 2020, it had become increasingly common to see the term “professional eSports player” conceptualising the individuals dedicating their lives to competitive gaming, undergoing strict routines and training in the unique journey of becoming the world’s next best gaming athlete.

The Future

At present, the most-viewed tournaments are impressive spectacles in their own right, with titles like ‘Free Fire World Series’, ‘League of Legends’, and ‘Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’ drawing millions of viewers. Looking to the future, in August 2023, Saudi Arabian tournament organiser Gamers8 ran their ‘The Land of Heroes’ tournament with a colossal prize of $45 million dollars, a figure that we will see constantly being pushed higher in tournaments in following years. And according to BeyonGames.biz, the eSports market is estimated to grow at 21.81% between 2022 and 2027, with the size of the market expected to increase by $3,515.1 million.

The journey of competitive gaming from its humble beginnings to its current global standing is a testament to its enduring appeal and cultural impact. With its exhilarating competition and substantial rewards, eSports has become a true force in the entertainment world. As the industry continues to innovate and evolve, one thing remains clear: this isn’t just a passing trend. It’s a phenomenon that has permanently transformed the way we engage with and celebrate competitive gaming.

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Compliance Updates

PandaScore secures their first US betting license, by entering Colorado

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After a meticulous and measured research process in consultation with the needs of its clients, PandaScore has acquired a license to operate in the US state of Colorado.

Through the license, PandaScore has signalled its intentions in the US market: forging a supplier-led path to esports betting success in the US. Existing PandaScore clients can now enter the Colorado market, scale up their esports offering and build their future audience in the state’s esports-friendly regulatory framework.

Future clients can also be confident that working with PandaScore supports their growth strategy in the lucrative US market. The state’s esports-friendly regulatory framework serves as a solid foundation to cultivate an esports audience and take advantage of PandaScore’s innovative, revenue-driving products such as BetBuilder, player props and microbetting.

PandaScore selected Colorado as its first point of entry into US licensing thanks to the state’s large catalogue of esports titles and competitions that are eligible for regular betting, and the wide range of markets that can be offered. Additionally, the state’s flexible and innovation-friendly licensing regime makes it a strong market for PandaScore and its clients.

Securing the license also serves as proof of concept for the French esports supplier, PandaScore Legal Counsel Alexis Brunet noted that “securing the Colorado license is a strong signal of our intentions in the US and are serious about its potential. Esports in the United States is a fast-evolving regulatory environment, but it’s only going in one direction: expansion. We intend to provide our best-in-class products and services to our customers no matter where they are, and service one of the largest markets in the world.”

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For PandaScore CEO Flavien Guillocheau, entry into Colorado in the US market was the natural next step in the company’s client-first, service-oriented approach: “For esports to succeed in the US, suppliers must lead from the front. Suppliers need to address the uncertainty around regulation which has held back operator investment and thus growth of the vertical.

“We’ve proven we know the market, get a license efficiently and do it in a way that puts operators first. We’re confident that if our clients are seeking entry into a given market, we can be completely straight with them, show them the viable pathway to success, and create the foundation and access they need to fully harness the potential of esports in one of its biggest consumer markets.”

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eSports

the*gamehers and Thunderpick Extend Partnership into 2025

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the*gamehers and Thunderpick Extend Partnership into 2025

 

Leading esports brand kick off a year of empowering women gamers, exclusive content, and tournaments

the*gamehers, the women-focused community gaming platform, and Thunderpick, the leading online esports betting platform and host of Thunderpick World Championship today announced the continuation of their partnership into 2025. The collaboration aims to empower the gaming community, specifically focusing on women and femme-identifying gamers and content creators, through an immersive 12-month campaign.

The campaign will feature a content series highlighting women in gaming through brand features, ambassador Twitch streams, exclusive ambassador content, and a biannual tournament that includes behind-the-scenes footage from the ambassador team. Thunderpick and the*gamehers recently hosted the successful femme-focused CS2 Wildcard Tournament in May of this year in Atlanta. More exciting details will be unveiled as the partnership develops.

“This partnership is the perfect way to promote women’s empowerment in esports and the overall gaming community, and we are excited to have the opportunity to partner with a company that has similar goals for women’s inclusion in gaming,” said Allie Young, President of the*gamehers.

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“Thunderpick is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the esports community,” said Kelly Sanders, Head of Strategy at Thunderpick. “Our extended partnership with the*gamehers underscores our dedication to empowering women gamers and supporting femme-led esports organizations. We believe that in collaboration with the*gamehers we can not only better  highlight the incredible talent of women in gaming but also inspire the next generation of gamers to pursue their passions without boundaries.”

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HAWKS TALON GC HOSTS PANEL, NBA 2K TOURNAMENT AT WADE WALKER PARK FAMILY YMCA ESPORTS SUMMER CAMP

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Hawks Talon GC, the official NBA 2K League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, hosted a panel and bracket style tournament on Wednesday at the Wade Walker Park Family YMCA as part of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta’s Esports summer camp.

Director of Marketing and Operations, Affiliate Leagues, Wesley Acuff, Hawks Talon GC Head Coach, Ismael ‘MAELO’ Diaz Tolentino, and Hawks Talon GC players Mark David “MDS” Smith, Ludlow “LOW” Samuels and Elijah “Underratedgoat” Spears spoke to 26 camp participants about their journey to the NBA 2K League, and the uniqueness and innerworkings of the League.

“Being able to work with the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and help with their Esports camp was extremely rewarding for our group to be a part of,” said Janice Koon, Vice President of G League, and NBA 2K League Operations for the Atlanta Hawks. “Our Hawks Talon Gaming Club always relish the opportunity to be able to interact with the young kids in our area, and it was a joy for them to talk to and play 2K with the campers this morning.”

After the panel, the group of campers split up into 13 teams to face off head-to-head in a NBA 2K 2v2, single elimination bracket tournament.

In addition to the tournament, the campers were able to utilize another PlayStation within the Wade Walker Family YMCA Esports lab and jump into a 2K game with the official NBA 2K League settings, while utilizing Hawks Talon GC player avatars. The campers were able to play by the official NBA 2K League rules and game settings to experience the authentic feel of being a professional NBA 2K player.

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At the end of the tournament, the first, second, and third place teams received Hawks Talon Gaming Club t-shirts and sweatshirts, while all campers will be gifted an official Hawks Talon Gaming Club jersey with the YMCA patch.

“Our Y Esports summer camps help children build self-confidence, practice sportsmanship and gain news skills, while connecting with other gamers,” said Lorna Loh, executive director of the Wade Walker Park Family YMCA. “We greatly appreciate Hawks Talon GC’s partnership and commitment to providing our Y kids with an informative, fun panel about the league and interactive opportunities to improve their skills.”

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