KEMBALI KE BLOG

What is Esports?

Ogos 27, 2019

Lately, the word “esports” is everywhere. You have probably come across the word a few times in the newspaper too. You can hear it being talked about in kopitiams and boardrooms alike. Why? What’s the big deal with esports and why all of the sudden interest by everyone all over the place? 

Have you heard of Formula E racing instead of Formula 1? What about E-Wallets or E-Banking? Sold or bought something on an E-Marketplace? Esports is kind of the same thing. In this era of technology disruption and internet globalisation, adding the “E” for Electronic to some old-school terms is meant to refer to the same-same but different version of that term. You wouldn’t bring your pasar-malam trolley to an E-Marketplace, would you? In short; esports is any form of Competitive Computer/Video Gaming.

Ayo, my grandfather also play video games before. Why all the big fuss now?

You’re right! Video games have been around for a pretty long time! In fact, video games have been in existence since the very beginning of computing technology. Did you know that the first ever video game created simply for entertainment was Tennis for Two back in 1958? That’s almost as old as Malaysia!

Similarly, esports has a long history but it has only recently been thrust into the limelight over the last few years for one simple reason: faster internet speeds.

 

When Blizzard launched StarCraft in the late 1990s South Korea was building up it’s online infrastructure and creating the fastest internet in the world. Online cafes began sprouting up, and the cafes needed games. It’s a matter of which came first – the chicken or StarCraft – but the game ended up in more and more net cafes. The release of the game also coincided with the creation of South Korea’s first pro gaming league in 1998. A couple of years after the game launched, pro-gamers began organizing into teams and big time sponsors like Samsung moved in.

Why is Starcraft So Popular in Korea, Kotaku 2010-

At the dawn of the new millennium, faster internet speeds and the global proliferation of internet access to the everyday person meant that we had more entertainment options other than going to watch a movie or lepak at a mall. For gamers, that meant the ability to go online and challenge your gaming skills with others around the world. It didn’t stop there. Back when YouTube was still laughed at by major television media corporations, one of the most popular types of content (aside from cat videos) were gaming based. That could be anything from watching someone play the entire storyline of the game (playthroughs or walkthroughs), a tournament highlight video or even watching someone create an insane Minecraft map.

2010 Video of now-YouTube-megastar PewDiePie playing infamously scary game Amnesia

Internet eventually got even faster to the point that we didn’t need to wait around for our favourite content creators to make a new video; we’d just watch them Live. Gamers soon went for a social-media platform called Twitch that was a video streaming social media site dedicated to gaming. With the ability to share their gaming experience in real-time with their audience with streaming, gamers around the world quickly gained a following and even began to earn their livelihood based purely on them playing games.

So, what does all this have to do with Esports?

In reality, any game (yes, even lat-ta-li-lat) can become a sport provided it has three important ingredients: a competitive structure, tournament events and spectators. Arguably, spectatorship is the most important as the more people are willing to pay to watch a sporting event, the more likely it is to grow. You know how in America sometimes some superstars like Beyonce or Justin Timberlake perform during the halftime show (mid-game break) of an American Football championship (Super Bowl) before a whole bunch of ads (sometimes new movie trailers) show on a screen? That’s because the number of spectators of the game itself is an audience that companies and brands capitalise their marketing on.

Speaking of halftime shows, check this esports halftime show out:

The Opening Ceremony performance of K/DA – POP/STARS at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship in Incheon, South Korea, World Championship. The live performers on stage had a holographic 3 dimensional model of the in-game characters projected onto them.

Once the bigger brands got a taste of esports viewership, they never looked down on it again. In comparison, esports totally tapau traditional sports in terms of viewership:

“The latest data from GlobalWebIndex suggest that esports may have reached a tipping point amongst internet users aged 16 to 24, with 32 percent saying they’ve recently watched an esports tournament, compared to 31 percent who say they’re interested in watching more ‘conventional’ sports like football, cricket, or motor racing. Almost 1 billion people around the world have watched an esports tournament in recent months, with interest particularly high in Asian countries.”

In that same report has another milestone; 3.5 billion people now use social media. It is the combination of social media and the explosion of esports spectatorship that has launched esports into the spectacle that it is today.

“Southeast Asia is the fastest-growing region with the number of esports enthusiasts expected to double to 19.8 million this year from 9.5 million in 2016. Games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite have grown significantly in just a short time with 30 million active players and 200 million downloads in eight months for PUBG Mobile while Fortnite achieved 200 million registered players with 8.3 million concurrent (the total number of players connected to the game at a given time).”

Esports really is everywhere these days. It is recognised as a medal sport in the SEA Games 2019 , tournaments with eye-watering prize pools. The International 2019 clocks in at: US$30,801,236 (at the time of writing) and is the largest prize pool for any single esports event EVER! If that isn’t impressive enough how about esports individuals like this teenager not even old enough to sit for SPM winning US$3,000,000 in a Fortnite tournament?

We could go on and on but the esports landscape is rich with a plethora of stories to tell. That’s why we created Yoodo Esports! As a telco company in Malaysia (that also happens to own one of the biggest PUBG Mobile esports team in Malaysia… cehhh…), we didn’t want to stop delivering value to our users and esports fans alike. You can look forward to more original esports-related articles, videos and other content right at our Yoodo Esports Facebook page. Yoodo you, while we do esports!

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