The Evolution of Competitive Gaming
The first recorded olympic event took place in 760 BC in ancient Greece: a single footrace. From there, the popularity of competitive sports evolved exponentially, with new events being added every year. Wrestling, javelin toss, shotput, and more. Eventually, common people became so enamored with seeing the best of the best perform that sports teams began organizing and competing professionally. Today, competitive sports are a multi-billion dollar industry that test every aspect of physical strength, endurance, dexterity, and coordination. However, one new branch of competitive gaming is uniquely modern: e-sports.
E-sports, also known as professional video gaming, are growing more and more popular every day. In fact, some people even speculate that within a few decades they will outpace traditional sports in market share as the video gamer generations grow into adulthood. With massive followings, huge cash prizes, and even dedicated products like gaming chairs (find some of the best here www.dxracerreviews.com)*. But how did competitive gaming get to where it is today?
E-sports finds its roots in the competitive race to the top of arcade high score boards. Even in pre World War II pinball machines, players would fight to see who could score the best before losing their ball. In 1999, famed video gamer Billy Mitchell brought competitive gaming to the the forefront when he became the first player to earn the maximum possible score of 3,333,360 points on Pac-Man—a feat akin to Richard Douglas’s 1947 invention of the back-first high jumping technique known as the Fosbury flop, a revolutionary creation that is now the norm among olympic competitors.
As internet connection speeds picked up and multi-player games grew in popularity, the competitive gaming scene found its first legs in “clan matches” for games like Quake, Counter Strike, and Team Fortress. These independently formed teams competed in small leagues for glory, bragging rights, and the occasional small cash prize.
It wasn’t long before advertisers realized the money to be made in the video gaming industry. Just as generation after generation since the ancient olympics down to America’s pastime would gaze in awe at athletes performing at peak efficiency, so would a modern generation of gamers crowd around Twitch streams and YouTube broadcasts to watch button mashing and clicking perfected from countless hours of grinding and practice.
Games like Starcraft II, League of Legends, and Vainglory attract competitors from around the globe, and sponsors willing to pour millions of advertising dollars into this ever growing industry. Indeed, the highest paid esports player in the world, a U.S. citizen who goes by the handle UNiVeRsE, has earned $2.83 million in his career.
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