The Newest Athletes: eSports Gamers and Video Game Streamers
Most kids spend countless hours playing video games in their free time, but for some this hobby could potentially turn into a career. eSports and video game streaming have become a multibillion-dollar industry, drawing sponsorships from companies like Procter and Gamble and can be viewed on ESPN. This exploding world of video games is the future of sports whether society is ready to accept it as a sport or not.
Basics of eSports
eSports are very similar to traditional sports in America with eSports athletes competing either alone or on a team. The NBA and MLS have formed leagues that compete in the most popular video games in their sports genre. The NFL and NHL are currently testing the waters and are considering creating their own eSports leagues as well. Other combat and war games, strategy games, and role-playing games draw in hundreds of millions of dollars and viewers.
Popularity of Video Game Streaming
Video game streaming, which is defined as playing video games live with a camera showing the actual player and a screen showing the game play, is in itself a billion-dollar industry. The largest company in this field is Twitch, a site that was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million dollars. Twitch charges its customers $4.99 a month to be able to watch video games, stream themselves playing video games, and interact with others who are playing. Viewership for certain players can reach close to a million viewers for a single live session. Earlier this year, professional video game player Ninja teamed up with rappers Drake and Travis Scott, as well as NFL wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster to stream the four of them playing the extremely popular game Fortnite. This event, which took place in the middle of the week with little to no publicity, drew close to one million viewers. Events like this can draw millions in advertising and sponsorships as well as launch careers. Ninja, the aforementioned video game player, was relatively unknown in the video game world before 2018 and by September 2018 he was the first video game player ever to be featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine.
A Growing Sports Genre
The world of eSports is not just open to professionals. Almost every major NCAA conference already either has established an eSports league or is currently in the process of doing so. This means in the not so near future kids will be able to earn eSports scholarships to colleges and universities the way that athletes can now.
The explosion in popularity of eSports is shaking up the world of professional and collegiate sports. Many household name companies are jumping on board so they do not miss their chance to get in on the ground floor. Billionaires, such as Robert Kraft have made multimillion-dollar investments in eSports leagues. Kids will soon be able to earn college scholarships for playing video games. These are all things to keep in mind the next time you tell your son or daughter to turn off their game systems and go to bed.