The video game industry is no stranger to battling for legitimacy; since its inception in the 1980s it has frequently been considered in mainstream circles as a brain-numbing pastime exclusively for teenage boys with nothing better to do in their free time. But this is a dated stereotype and anyone who still thinks this today hasn’t considered a simple fact: video game revenues are worth $25 billion annually in the US alone. The biggest new game releases routinely surpass Hollywood blockbusters in terms of profits.
This brings us to a unique subset of gaming that has come to be known as esports, a term that emerged in the past decade to describe organized tournaments at which the top professional video game players gather to compete against each other. It covers multiple genres from traditional sports games to FPS titles like Call of Duty, Overwatch and CSGO, to RTS games like Starcraft 2, to the multiplayer battle arenas of Dota 2 and League of Legends. Today approximately 300 million people worldwide tune in to watch esports, with the number projected to break 500 million by 2020.
Sports betting in various forms has existed for centuries and one could argue that esports is simply an extension of this practice as more and more betting companies are getting involved in it. It’s also becoming more common for real sports teams to form professional video game teams to represent them at esport events. For example, FIFA is the most popular football game series that holds regular nationwide and worldwide competitions between the best players and some football clubs in England and Spain have begun setting aside resources to create their own ‘esports team’ to represent them at these tournaments. No doubt about it: if the world’s biggest sporting clubs are starting to take esports more seriously, so should you.
Countless hours of training goes into preparing for these tournaments. The top players even have sponsorship deals much like real athletes, allowing them to concentrate on their passion full-time as they seek ultimate glory on the podium. In this sense esports share a common thread with real sports and are now more legitimate than ever before, with their reputation still rising. This is equally true for the potentially lucrative market of esports betting, which more betting companies are increasingly taking notice of.
There are a number of betting sites in the UK that offer esports options right now and this will continue to rise as the esports betting industry continues to flourish. Whatever your views on whether playing video games should be considered a ‘real sport’, this is an area worth looking at mainly for the reasons mentioned above.
Esports are bigger than ever, with their reputation expected to rise even further in coming years, meaning you may get something of a head start by brushing up on what the betting environment surrounding it currently looks like. You could be making a profit now, before others start to discover how lucrative this market really is.