An article by my colleague Tamin Kashgari asked the question about e-sports becoming a legitimate career and a means of making some decent coin, and judging by the way 2015 ended, the answer may very well be an almost certain yes!
Three primary events took place that promise 2016 will be a lucrative and very big year for e-sport on an international scale:
1- Activision Blizzard Buys MLG
The people behind such titles as Call of Duty and Heroes of the Storm have purchased Major League Gaming, a New York based e-sports giant that can be called one of the founding pioneers on the front to promote e-sports, but had lost a lot of momentum in recent years. With the potential of a game’s success now having the added factor of potential winnings on the e-sports front and with the arrival of the new Blizzard team shooter Overwatch on the horizon, it’s no surprise the company wanted to get its nose wet and make a move in that direction. Where it once hosted tournaments on a comparably smaller scale than its competitors at Riot and Valve.
2- An almost all-year e-sports season with huge cash prizes will shape 2016
Dota 2, League of Legends, Hearthstone and Counter Strike: Global Offensive currently ALL have regional qualifying matches that will sift and filter through the best of the best, leading up to highly publicized, massive tournaments with large prize pools and the promise of glory to those once ridiculed for having a useless pastime. Some tournaments offer prize pools as large as 8 million dollars to their winning teams. To give you an idea, that’s more than the winners of the World Cup will ever dream of making.
3- ESPN E-Sports is an actual thing
With all the talk of e-sports teams getting sponsored by commercial companies locally and internationally. It is not at all a shocker that TV Sports behemoth ESPN wanted in on that action. Announcing a completely new medium where the entire season of e-sports can be enjoyed; ESPN E-Sports, as the world is finally bowing its head in submission to the legitimacy of e-sports team as actual athletes. The channel will definitely hound the teams for TV Spots and commercials, a medium once unavailable to them outside the scope of the internet and that’s huge.
In conclusion, I’ve always been a fan of e-sports, they’re exciting to watch for gaming enthusiasts and the energy is beyond electric at times. As a gamer myself, seeing such an advancement in a medium that I’ve always loved is a true victory for all those who’ve taken to the trenches and defended their love for our little electronic sanctuary. Here’s to a great year for E-Sports!