Video games and eSports: a growing industry
“He spends all day in front of that computer!” says Nico Banfield, mother of 16-year-old Ty Banfield, a competitive gamer. This is probably a phrase that you’re familiar with if you’ve lived with a teenager in the last 20-years. Between the rise of video games, the rise of technology, and the industry known as “eSports”, children, teens, and adults alike are likely to spend more time in front of the screen than ever before.
What are e-sports? Also known as e-gaming or electronic sports, eSports are a form of sports competition. The sport of choice? Video games.
Games that are typically played at eSports competitions include Fortnite, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Overwatch. In 2018 alone the eSports industry grew by $13.8 billion USD, making the industry net worth around $138 billion dollars last year. eSports competitions take place around the world, filling arenas with both gamers and spectators. People make entire careers from gaming, competing in these competitions and live streaming on platforms such as Twitch.
It's no different than a regular game of Fortnite, but the stakes are higher than a high-score or street cred amongst your family and friends. Millions of dollars are won by competitive gamers every year, with some going as far as to make a career from gaming.
The most successful gamer of all time is N0tail, real name Johan Sundstein, a 26-year-old man from Denmark. He’s a competitive Dota 2 player. In 2019 he earned $6,889,592 from 108 tournaments, with the average prize coming in at around $64,000 USD. However, the largest prize Sundstein has won was $3.12 million USD at the 2019 International Tournament.
While professionals are able to earn a living from playing videogames, Ty says that the money isn't so bad for amateurs either. "It's the only job I've ever had." Banfield told S@Y News. "I've made enough money to build my entire computer and buy my set up. I'd say in the last few years I've made around four grand."
But it’s not just a cash cow, eSports have also inspired lots of different studies. Experts are looking into the health and educational benefits of video games and the tech behind them. Both gamers and doctors seem to believe that there is something to be learned from video games, with recreational and educational games both having their benefits. Doctors and health researchers also have findings that suggest that there are health benefits to video games, from fine-tuning children’s motor skills, teaching adolescents problem-solving methods, and helping adults with cognitive skills and dexterity.
When video games were invented in the 1950s, they were divided into three categories; educational games for instructional and educational purposes, research programs for fields like artificial intelligence, and entertainment games for the public. The original “video games” include versions of fan favorites like Pong, tic tac toe, and Checkers.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) has also sparked the attention of tech developers as of late. Virtual reality is being used to develop games, activities, and teaching aids. Our reporter Chloe Robson tells us more on how virtual reality can be used in classrooms.
Some tech-savvy media platforms have even started to use 360-degree cameras to film footage for 360 newscasts and ENGs that can be viewed using V.R. headsets and 3D glasses. Another area that uses A.I. is in prosthetics and using video games to teach amputees how to use artificial limbs in rehabilitation programs.
Some of the many benefits of video games, from World of Warcraft to Fifa, include boosting social skills in children and introduce proper development of motor skills, according to the American Psychological Association. It seems like parents around the world like Nico Banfield have a long road when it comes to video games.
Written By: Devon Banfield