Beginner’s Guide to eSports

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eSports is by no means a new concept, having technically existed since the 1970s, but the movement has only recently come to the fore in the 2010s. A comprehensive introduction of eSports shall be outlined below.

An Introduction to eSports

Essentially, eSports can be defined as competitive computer gaming between individuals or teams. And eSports have now risen to the point where the top players in the world are now fully professional and frequently compete for prize sums running into the millions.

Top eSports Locations

The eSports movement has players and fans situated in many countries, but some locations have proven to be much stronger breeding grounds than others:

  • USA: Computer game culture has been popular for years in the US. So, it was only natural for players to start competing in eSports games and fans to watch.
  • China: Although computer games emerged in Japan, it is China that has the much more developed eSports market, offering numerous competitions.
  • South Korea: There are several eSports organisations based in South Korea, which has been licensing pro players since the early-2000s.
  • Europe: The geographical positioning of Europe makes the region highly suitable for hosting international tournaments. However, it has taken Europe longer to become established.

Status as a Sport

There have been numerous debates relating to whether eSports should actually be recognised as a sport. These sorts of discussions are hardly new, what with snooker, darts, and motor racing being questioned as to whether they constitute sports.


However, the fact of the matter is that eSports require the demonstration of physical dexterity in order to succeed. And the playing out of intense action is precisely the reason why major sports broadcasting networks like ESPN are delivering ever more intensive coverage and even employ specialised eSport casters to report on eSports scores.


A further similarity with traditional sports is the use of trainers to prepare competitors for upcoming eSports tournaments. The very best players undergo thousands of hours of training – perhaps even more than athletes – in order to stand the chance of finishing among the top performers.

How Players Compete

eSports can allow for some extremely competitive gaming formats to be played out. From a broad perspective, there are two formats that can be witnessed across many different games:

  • Head-to-head: First-person shooters (FPS) and fighting games commonly see gamers play one vs. one as they attempt to emerge as the best.
  • Teams: There are lots of games where players have to band together in a team to take on an opposing group of competitors. Typically, team-based tournaments and leagues are what attract the most prize money and highest viewing numbers.

Main Types of eSports Games

Any game can technically be an eSport, but only if it can allow for either head-to-head or team-based competition. Thus far, the following genres have been the most popular when it comes to spawning eSports hits.

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)

The genre originated from real-time strategy by bringing many more players into the action to form large teams. In the MOBA genre, many of the games utilise fantasy or science fiction elements to give players weapons, powers, and feats that can be used to try and out-perform the other team in attempting to complete a set goal or objective.

Real-time Strategy (RTS)

RTS has been a long-running genre in computer games and later eSports. Typically, a RTS game is designed to challenge players by asking them to assemble bases and gather resources. In some RTS games, there will eventually be conflict between opposing forces in a wider world-based environment.

First-person Shooter (FPS)

These games place the player in the shoes of a character who needs to progress through an environment filled with enemy combatants. Quite often, this will be a death-match in which the player needs to battle opponents. Team-based combat can be quite popular, while also including aspects such as capture the flag or king of the hill.

Other eSports Games

Those were the three most popular eSports genres, but there are other formats that can present opportunities for players to take each other on:

  • Sports: Football, motor racing, and US sports are just a few examples of the ways in which sports can appear within eSports.
  • Fighting: A fighting game can ask for two player to battle against each other in what will often be a best-of-three rounds combat scenario.
  • Cards: These encourage players to assemble decks of cards that are then used for competing against opponents with their own decks.

eSports Rewards

Professional eSports players are often involved because they love the games they play. Of course, they do appreciate the other rewards that can come as part of the process. Crucially, there are now eSports millionaires who amassed their fortunes by earning prize money. Naturally, this has seen them also amass fame and secure lucrative sponsorship deals.

Characteristics of Popular eSports Games

There is no exact formula for determining whether an eSports game can be successful, but there are some characteristics found in the current most popular games:

  • Loyal player base: First and foremost, the game has to have a large base of loyal players, as these will be the fans who actually watch the tournaments. Talented competitors are one thing, but fans are essential for generating money.
  • Compelling game structure: The top eSports have proven to have longevity, with the competitive structure of the game making it an immense challenge for players to consistently win.
  • Live streaming suitability: eSports have to be suitable for live streaming. Generally, this has to mean a slight compromise on graphical quality, while games must also have camera perspectives that are easy for viewers to monitor the action.

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How to Watch eSports Online

Nowadays, there is always an eSports tournament around the corner. You just have to know where to look for them. Here, you shall be introduced to a couple of the main platforms for watching eSports live.


Twitch began as an offshoot from a wider live streaming video service. In this case, Twitch would be fully dedicated to broadcasting video game content and related discussions. On Twitch, it is possible to watch eSports tournaments and also engage with fellow users by using the public chat feature. Viewers can even maintain their own Twitch pages.


After Twitch began in 2011, Amazon later acquired the platform. In response to the emergence of eSports and game streaming, YouTube Gaming was established as a specialist platform. Fans can now visit the platform if they want to watch eSports tournaments and related content.

Getting to Grips with eSports

Fans who are new to eSports betting and viewing are faced with a learning curve when it comes to understand what exactly is going on when watching the tournaments. Fortunately, there are some ways in which to make the process simpler:

  • Watch eSports: The straight-forward way is simply to pick a game you either play or have knowledge of and start watching eSports players compete.
  • Listen to the stream: Pay attention to any commentary or player comments that are being made. You might just learn something new, such as player strengths or weaknesses that are revealed by analysts.
  • Ask questions in chat: Twitch and YouTube Gaming both offer you the ability to submit comments on the chat bar at the side of the screen. You can try asking about players or teams and then wait for responses from fellow viewers.
  • Watch eSports casters: There are numerous eSports casters running blogs on Twitch, YouTube, and also websites. Start viewing and reading those blogs to hear what the experts have to say about eSports.

How to Enter Competitive Gaming

For the average player, it is not realistic to harbour hopes of competing in the world’s top eSports tournaments. Nevertheless, there are numerous platforms on which you can start playing competitively against other from around the globe:

  • PlayStation Network: The PlayStation is home to major franchises such as FIFA and Call of Duty. With a paid subscription for PlayStation Network (PSN), you can use the platform to start playing competitively against others.
  • XBOX Live: XBOX Live is a console equivalent to PSN, with some of the top games featuring Destiny and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Enter the XBOX Live platform and start engaging competitively on one of the compatible games.
  • Windows PC: The PC offers access to an array of MOBAs, including League of Legends and Dota 2. They cannot be played on console, so use a PC if you wish to play those.

Major eSports Games

In eSports there is a handful games that are more popular than all of the others:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Take on enemy teams in a first-person shooter that has set the benchmark for years.
  • League of Legends: LoL pits team against team in a fantastical MOBA where each player has special powers and feats.
  • Dota 2: This is another MOBA, but players will be challenged to defend the other team’s Ancient structure.

Getting into eSports can take time and patience, but this will be worth it for computer game fans and bettors.

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