If you’re a gamer, you already know plenty about esports. If you are not a gamer, you may currently wonder if “esports” is a French of American word. For the uninitiated, esports are an American phenomenon that is sweeping the globe, but it has only a passing connection to real sports, albeit one that is becoming more established.
Esports are video games played professionally, at stupidly high levels of perfection. They’re incredible exciting, competitive, and they can be performed in setting that look like the (figurative) major leagues. Esports have been on the rise for years, but the only relationship they’ve had with traditional sports has been when professional games duke it out in games like Madden.
That’s all starting to change. The Yankee acquisition of a large stake in a major esports franchise and Amit Raizada’s big deal are examples of traditional sporting institutions dipping their toes into the digital world of esports.
If professional franchises are licensing their IP to major games studios, and starting to invest in professional video gaming, you know that this speaks well of the prospects of esports. It’s hard to measure growth in industries so large, diffuse, and diverse, but it’s safe to say that esports as a whole is growing at a faster rate than traditional sports, though this is largely due to the fact that it is much smaller.
The question is, could esports get to the point where your football-loving dad will want to watch them on TV? Your first thought may be “no”, but hold on for just a second. This future could be around the corner.
Follow the logic here: video game graphics and functionality are reaching ever closer to lifelike perfection. Players and viewers can enjoy experiences that mimic real sporting events in incredible detail. And sometimes, the games are better.
Games within the world of esports are so good because the level of play is so high. When you have two teams entirely controlled by two people (rather than the dozens who control the real world counterparts), there is less room for human error, and more opportunity for the excellence of highly developed players to come to the fore.
In many ways, this makes esports more like chess, except with touchdowns instead of checkmates. So if esports become ever more convincing and the drama gets high enough, it’s easy to think that normal sports fans could start tuning in in a big way.
This is all the more likely because of the recent investments by the Yankees, Rick Fox, and a variety of professional team owners make it look like esports is only going to get more impressive. You can bet that if the Yankees buy an entertainment source, they are going to find a way to market it and make it popular. Among people who know about esports, the industry is rabidly popular, so it’s easy to see how it could perform well in conventional households in a way that Arena football, for example, could not. We think the future of esports is bright. One day, your dad might too.