The year 2020 doesn’t have jet packs or flying cars, but one childhood fantasy for many of us has became a reality: esports. Around the world, people are getting paid to play video games, and the heated money chase between pro gamers produces highly entertaining viewing experiences. Competitive, professional video gaming is filled with so much drama and so many memorable moments that it’s one of the best sporting events around, ranking with the NBA in terms of sheer spectacle and ridiculousness. And, considering the faces and heels, cool folks and obnoxious brats, esports may be the best reality TV, too. What are the best ways to watch this amazing spectacle? We’ll explain; but first, let’s define our terms.
Esports, if you’re unaware, is the title given to the video game industry’s competitive player arm. That term doesn’t refer to a few friends getting together on the weekend to down beers and pizza while engaging in smack talk-filled FIFA or Madden NFL sessions. Instead, esports flames the competitive fires by adding tournament structures and cash prizes.
Money is generated from players paying tournament entrance fees or purchasing downloadable content and by event sponsorship by large companies. Sometimes the prize money is a mix of both. Whatever the source of the cash, those pots attract players, and most talented and dedicated people rise to the top, putting on tense, terrific matches. There’s also a governing body (the Electronic Sports League, commonly referred to as ESL), drug testing, and professional teams, complete with training camps.
Thankfully, watching esports is not a difficult task, as there are many esports-friendly games played on the local, regional, national, and international levels. COVID-19’s worldwide impact has cancelled or postponed many in-person tournaments, but events like Evolution Championship Series and Next Level Battle Circuit are being held entirely online. Here’s how to watch esports.