The Spectacular Rise of eSports

Some of you may have heard that Singapore's will be hosting the inaugural Asean eSports competition at the Singapore Sports Hub this year. In spite of the significance of such hosting to the nation, the event is (and should be seen as) part of one of the fastest-growing and significant forces in the modern world today. This force is, you guess it, the rise of eSports on the international stage.

The rise of eSports has been astronomical, and there are numerous statistics to allow you to feel the impact of such rise. For example, the number of eSports tournaments worldwide has grown from an effectively non-existent 27, in the year 2000, to 1895, in the year 2014. Is eSports not, in spite of the rapid rise, one of those fads on the fringes of society enjoyed only by a small community? Many of you understandably will have such a perception – particularly if you in Asian places imbued with strong 'Confucian' values, gaming is something which people do when they have nothing else to do, and something harmful in general to society. However, this will be far from the truth. eSports has been, and is increasingly getting, recognized and accommodated by the most respectable persons and organizations. Universities in the United States are giving out sport scholarships to talented games – for instance in 2016, Robert Morris University in Chicago handed out more than US$500,000 in athletic scholarships to gamers.

We also need to mention that... Fantasy eSports and eSports gambling are on the rise...

Why is this significant? They are the two biggest activities surrounding a very popular sport. Betting sites are increasingly sprouting up all over the world, that will allow them to gamble on eSports the way they would do for other very popular sports like soccer or basketball. This trend also applies to fantasy eSport platforms.

If eSports is to be considered a real sport, its professional athletes who are decently and professionally paid...

This is very true – too true for most in fact.

Players are known to have career high earnings of up to US$3 million, with such revenues being generated from various top games. Such professional earnings. By way of comparison, the greatest player in chess (a sport according to the Internatinal Olympic Committee), Magnus Carlsen, has a net worth of US$8 million – not too bad of a gap. These professional earnings taken home by these eSporters naturally means that their dedications to video games playing are adequately professionally. It is quite common for a standard professional eSporter to put 12 hours each day into his professional development. In fact, one big advantage for eSports athletes is that periods of complete physical rest (of which sleeping is a critical element) are less necessary (and perhaps also less desirable). Faker, an eSports sensation from South Korea, reveals that he quite often skips the sleep to improve on his gaming skills.

Technology has revolutionized and overturned conventions in many critical parts of our lives, perhaps the time for the world of sports to be moulded by such has come.