What differentiates eSports from traditional sports?
It would be fundamentally wrong to try to put on the same level, or worse, to seek an opposition between “traditional” and “electronic” sports. In fact, these are disciplines with extremely different approaches and implications: it is unthinkable that a video gamer who, although devoting much time to obtaining results, can be defined as a sportsman; a definition that is perfectly suited to those who constantly engage in a physical sport. When we talk about those who practice electronic sports it is always important to remember that we refer to people who compete at the highest levels, not to those who are dedicated to simple, personal, entertainment.
Once this important concept has been clarified we realize that the factors that unite these two worlds are numerous. First of all physical requirements, such as the need for eSport professionals to have a great hand-eye coordination, a skill that requires a certain amount of training, with specific “athletic” preparations. It should also be emphasized that, even in these disciplines, a daily training is essential to be able to sharpen one’s skills. In addition to the hard training, a considerable amount of talent is also required in order to aspire to achieve important goals.
From the point of view of the numbers, then the disambiguation between the two disciplines becomes more and more subtle: in recent years, in fact, electronic sports are enjoying a truly unstoppable public success, with audience figures that begin to compete with those of the big and most celebrated sport events. And these are numbers far from stabilizing.
These figures have inevitably attracted great sponsors, allowing some competitions to have a staggering prize pool, first and foremost the International 2014, Dota 2 tournament that offered over 10 million Dollars. In reality, like Korea, electronic sports are followed by national television, and the champions, who live in the wildest luxury, are celebrated as real stars.
The players of international level are therefore figures who are able to also gain important figures with their talent, which makes them, legally, comparable to the sports professionals of the traditional sports disciplines. Thanks to the commitment of many European associations this year, British players can also sign contracts as professionals, covering a legislative gap that lasted too long.
There is even talk of including electronic competitions in the mother of all sports celebrations; the Olympic Games. It will be the Olympic Committee to decide if this reality is mature enough to be part of it, but only the fact that we talk about it is in itself a very important goal. Therefore, eSports do not aspire to equating with traditional disciplines, but seek only legitimacy for what they have demonstrated, and to continue their growth path.
The big international tournaments
The destinies of the main multigaming in the world are often and willingly intertwined in clashes at the top in the most prestigious world tournaments dedicated to gaming. Let’s find out what are the most followed events by enthusiasts and who have the most substantial jackpots.
International is the most prestigious prize tournament dedicated to Dota 2, in which, by invitation, the best 16 teams in the world compete for the title of champion. Organized by the Valve itself, it is still the record holder as far as the highest jackpot is concerned, with as many as 10 million up for grabs in the 2014 edition. The mechanism that allows this huge sum to be allocated is quite unusual and innovative for this type of tournaments, since they are the same virtual tickets purchased by the public to constitute the amount up for grabs, not the sponsors.
For those who wish to explore not only the Dota universe, but also the reality of pro gaming and what revolves around it, we recommend watching the documentary Free to Play, distributed for free by Valve.
League of Legends Championship
The League of Legends World Championship is the most important tournament of this MOBA, organized by the RIOT (game manufacturer). The best 16 teams from all over the world will participate, namely 3 teams for NA, EU, Korea and China, 2 teams from Taiwan and SEA (South East Asian) and 2 teams with Global Wild Cards (1 team from Turkey, Oceania and CIS regions, and 1 from South America and Brazil).
Subsequently these teams are divided into 4 groups of 4, the best 2 of each group enter the Bracket Stage, that is the final tournament where the winner will be crowned world champion.
With a total prize pool of 2,130,000 Dollars (in the 2014 edition) it is one of the biggest eSports tournaments (second only to Dota2’s International). The attention for this tournament is very high all over the world, with 40,000 tickets to attend the last edition of the show that literally sold out (also because the concert of the Imagine Dragons, famous musical group was open) , and nearly 10 million people attended the tournament finals live.
The DreamHack is the largest computer festival in the world, an event with live concerts, digital art competitions, demonstrations and video game competitions. The event, held twice a year at the Elmia trade fair center in Jönköping, Sweden, counts on truly terrifying inflows (1.6 million at the last edition) and on very important jackpots for the players. Every year, it hosts top level tournaments for dozens and dozens of video games, among the most popular and competitive of the moment.
The BlizzCon is an annual fair organized by Blizzard, which, in addition to previews, insights, behind the scenes, demoscene and concerts, hosts the final stages of the tournaments of all the games in the Blizzard universe, such as Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft. In addition to being an event that is very popular and loved by all fans, it represents an extremely prestigious arrival point for professional gamers, also considering the first level jackpot that is offered every year.
World Cyber Games
The World Cyber Games is an international event that involves the best gamers from all over the world. The first edition was held in 2000 in Seoul with the name of WCG Challenge. Over the years, the event (defined by some newspapers as the “Video Games Olympics”) has rapidly grown in importance and prestige. Since 2001, it has assumed the name of World Cyber Games Grand Final and is held annually.
Until 2003, the finals were all held in South Korea. In 2004 it was decided to make it itinerant. In addition, Samsung, the main sponsor of the event, has since selected various companies within the different countries to assign them the selection of cyber-athletes who will participate in the Grand Final. For European countries, the assignment passed to Programming, starting from the 2007 qualifications. The “disciplines” of WCG cover a very broad spectrum of the videogame offer and include both individual sessions and team sessions. The games are chosen year by year by the event’s organizing committee. In 2014 this competition suffered a setback, however, with the announcement of the closure by the organizers.
Major League Gaming
MLG is the American league of competitive video games. It deals with hosting and promoting events related to the world of programming, organizing multiple tournaments between the United States and Canada each year, and involving multiple realities in the world of video games. His events are followed by the ESPN TV network and relaunched by many streaming sites. Driven by the continuing rise in popularity of eSports, it has opened up an arena designed to host competitive gaming events, which is the first “eSport stadium”: the structure, covering over 4,000 square meters, includes an internal space that can host hundreds of spectators, while the participants compete in soundproof booths, with giant screens that allow you to watch the games, the heating phases and the interviews.
Electronic Sports World Cup
The Electronic Sports World Cup (abbreviated as ESWC) is an international professional video game league. Every year the winners of national selections, organized around the world, earn the right to represent their nation at the ESWC finals.
The ESWC was previously organized by a French company called Ligarena, which hosted small LAN events in France under the name of LAN Arena. In 2003 Ligarena finally decided to expand on a large scale, giving birth to the ESWC. In 2009, the ESWC was taken over by another French company, the Games-Solution. Since its first editions this event has always given space, with at least one exponent by type, to all kinds of video games.