Brianna McKerracher, Staff Writer

If someone would have said 20 years ago that gaming video gaming could become as big as it is now, few would have believed them.Video games have been a common pastime for decades. As the types of games are constantly changing, the amount of people interested in them only grows. For some, video gaming has turned into more then a casual pastime.

The “eSports” (or electronic sports) industry has recently gained a huge amount of popularity. Similar to when a basketball team gets together and plays basketball, gamers all around the world come to compete in tournaments and play their favorite video games. These tournaments are no small occasion. They take place in large arenas with with big crowds, also similar to other traditional sports like football or basketball. Well known participants have fan bases that tune in and watch the match online, they may even get paid for playing competitively.  Fortnite has just announced that it would offer 100 million dollars in prize money for the players this season. Not only has Fornite stepped up its game, but Dota 2 has given out more than 140 million dollars

Photo of the Fortnite main screen pc: junior Tim Greiss

The well-known professional gamers work hard to train for big competitions. Most people think that getting paid for playing video games would be amazing because of how easy the task is. In actuality, professional eSports players can train up to 14 hours a day working on their reflexes and reactions. In order to stay at the top of their game, they need to be ready and able to respond quickly to a situation. They also need to stay up to date on updates and improvements made to the games they play. This is to ensure they are familiar with the changes made to the format they are used to. Usually, gamers will play one game and battle each other until someone eventually wins. It is likely the people participating will be playing in teams rather then on their own, but the outcome is the same as only one team can finish with the dub.

People have played computer games against one another since video games were created. Even though that is true, the first large scale gaming competition was not held until 1980, and was created by the arcade game company Atari. There were more than 10,000 people participating in this competition. Because of its turnout and popularity in the gaming community, Atari’s competition paved the foundation for the evolution of eSports today. Soon after, record keeping organizations like Twin Galaxies were founded, and teams such as the U.S. National Video Game Team were formed. Twin Galaxies helped store scores and make them public, by publishing the records in Guinness World Records. Teams like the U.S. National Video Game Team participated in competitions such as the Video Game Masters Tournament for Guinness World Records and the North American Video Game Challenge Tournament. The many tournaments and creation of major teams or leagues and the constant development of internet and its speed led video gaming to a whole new era: one that permitted people to join into open servers allowing gamers to connect and work together as a team.

Counter strike cover photo pc:

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s the internet became faster and increased connectivity. This made online video gaming an accessible option and led to more and more people getting involved in the growing trend. Games like Netrik paved the way for online gaming by allowing people to connect to each other over the internet and play in teams. After online gaming was popularized there were more tournaments being organized and more people competing in them. Some examples of major tournaments from this time period are the 1990 Nintendo World Championships. This competition visited locations all around the United States, and held its finals at Universal Studios in California. Nintendo held a second World Championships in 1994, there were 132 finalists that played in the finals in San Diego, CA.  Blockbuster Video also ran a World Game Championship in the early 1990s. People from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Chile were able to compete in this competition. The development of faster internet and multiplayer gaming launched esports into a period of major growth and led them to where they are today.

Now that the competitions are reaching a wider audience, people are becoming interested in the outcomes of the games. Exceptional players rise to the top and can acquire sponsors that can help them be successful in their competitions. Because the industry is growing, the larger the prize money becomes. With the prizes from the competitions and the sponsors that assist them, professional gamers can make a living out of something that was once a hobby.

Esports is becoming popular all around the world. South Korea is a great example of a country that has turned the industry into a successful business. South Korea has already realized the amount of money they can make from these games and America is following their lead. Large tournaments like League of Legends brings in millions of people who want to watch other people play video games. In 2015, a League of Legends tournament brought in 35 million viewers.

Some examples of popular games today include:

Counter-Strike: Global offensive  

This is a first person shooter video game and is a part of the Counter Strike series. There are five standard game modes. The first is Deathmatch, which uses a point system based on kills, the team with most collective points wins. There is also Arms Race where each kill leads to a gun upgrade, and Demolition where you can try to diffuse a bomb set by a terrorist. Gamers who play Casual only have one life per round where they try to defuse a bomb or free a hostage. Finally, Competitive where players defuse a bomb with teams of five and 30 rounds. Across all the game modes there are two teams, the terrorists and the counter terrorists. The counter terrorists try to stop the terrorists from completing their mission, for example setting up a bomb. This can be stopped by defusing the bomb or eliminating the threat. Each of these modes are playable with different types of maps that are separated into two groups, the reserves group and the active duty group. The only difference is that active duty uses maps from the competitive game mode.

League of Legends

This is a team strategy game where participants try to get to the enemy nexus located in the other team’s base. Each team has to work together to destroy it before the opposing team destroys theirs. The game starts after the player chooses a champion. Each one has different skill sets, and based on your strategy, different benefits. Champions start the game in the fountain which is also where a player will respawn after death. It restores your health and provides access to the shop. After starting items are bought, players will head to one of three lanes top, bot, and mid. The monsters reside in the jungle between the three lanes, killing monsters is a difficult but rewarding task. Each lane is a path between the two bases which champions need to travel in order to destroy the other teams Nexus which is the point of the game. In order to succeed, players need to grow their characters’ strength giving them a better chance at success. Champions can get stronger in two ways, the first is leveling up. In order to level up players need to gain experience and in order to do this they need to be around enemies when they die. Each level of experience gives an ability point which can be used to unlock new abilities and make old ones stronger. The second way to get stronger is buying weapons, which are purchased at the shop in the base. Items are bought by collecting gold earned from killing enemies. After buying the item it goes into a player’s inventory and automatically gives them the benefits and upgrades.


In Fortnite there are two different game modes followed by multiple sub modes. While you can choose to play either Battle Royale or Save the World, Battle Royale is the more chosen path. When playing battle royale, you can fly solo, join a friend and play duos, or run with a group of four, known as squads. The game runs with mechanics similar to the well-known Hunger Games trilogy. Each game begins with 100 players. The game begins with all players on board of what is  known as the Battle Bus. The Battle Bus flies across the map, allowing players to drop in locations with obscure names such as Tilted Towers, Retail Row, and Junk Junction.. When in game, it is important to gather a variety of equipment: materials used for building, weapons used to eliminate other players, and health kits that players can use to heal themselves when damaged. When engaging in battle, it is important for players to explore angles of battle that will give them an advantage, and ultimately, help them eliminate the other player. Also, when engaging in combat and when gathering resources, it is important to realize that weapons of different colors are recognized as different tiers. The tier color goes as follows: gray, green, blue, purple, and gold. Gold weapons cause the most damage, while gray weapons do significantly less damage. While the  majority of the game is a relatively similar to the Hunger Games, an altered element in the game is that as time goes on.What is known as the “storm” becomes smaller, forcing surviving players to become closer to each other and increase the chances of battles, while players left outside of the storm are eliminated after a certain amount of time. The game continues until one player, one duo, or one squad is left over, announcing that they have achieved a “#1 Victory Royale!”

Dota 2 cover photo

“Just like ‘real’ sports, eSports makes money off of investments, branding, advertising and media deals, raking in $1.5 billion in revenue last year,” said SuperData. The firm expects the esports industry to hit 299 million viewers this year and top $2 billion in revenue by 2021.” According to USA Today.

Because of how fast the esports industry is growing, colleges are now looking at options for the future. Even division one colleges are starting to form varsity eSsports teams and there is even a National Association of Collegiate Esports. They are fighting to normalize college esports and help them advance into the varsity space. There are 45 schools in this organization, all of which have varsity eSsports teams. One of the main problems with advancing this further is whether or not the National Collegiate Athletic Association will support the growth of varsity eSsport teams in college. One of the problems with advancing this further is the fact that this sport is very male dominated.

“I️ play some video games and I️ know quite a few girls who play video games. Some of them play a lot of them and others play only a few. They play Overwatch, Fortnite, The Walking Dead, Grand Theft Auto, League of Legends,, etc,” said junior Hannah Berletich. after being asked if she played video games and if any of her friends played video games.

Even though this sport is mainly played by men, women girls do play video games. The more popular this passtime becomes, the more girls will end up joining, its just a matter of time before the numbers start evening out. Even though support has not been given yet, colleges are still starting to offer substantial scholarships for multiple different sports. Recently, Ashland University in Ohio has offered a for thousand dollar Fortnite scholarship. Fortnite is a fast growing game thats drawing in players from all over. People have started to play this game non stop attracting a lot of attention from different media outlets.

“I play about four 4 to five 5 hours a day and I would consider myself above average,” junior Ben Thompson.

Competitive sports have been around for many years and have rapidly grown since the first eSports tournament. Now colleges are recognizing these games as varsity competitions. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has also partnered with the venture organization PlayVS to launch a nationwide high school esports league.

“I think they should be a separate category of entertainment. It is not necessarily a sport in my opinion since there is no real physical exercise. But I think that if schools do have specific ‘teams’ for video games then scholarships for it are great,” said junior and varsity football player Kevin Lopez.

This industry is expanding fast and the possibilities are endless there is no telling what or how big the next expansion will be. In a couple years the whole platform could change, playing esports will not be a new unusual thing it might become completely normal for every local high school to have a varsity esports team. Esports might even be included in the olympics more and more companies are pouring millions of dollars and resources into this fast growing development.