Posted by Rob Jiang on Jul 27, 2011

A Briefing on eSports

Later this week, one of the most major electronic sporting events in the United States will take place in sunny California. Gamers of all sorts should be excited for the Major League Gaming’s Pro Circuit tour stop in Anaheim, California – and Gamer Front will be there for the live coverage.


E-sports, short for electronic sports, represent the various competitive gaming scenes. From fighting games, MMO arena player-versus-player, first-person shooters, or real time strategy, there exists a competitive scene for almost every genre of video games. Even traditionally thought of as single player games, there are competitive scenes for those as well – remember the original Donkey Kong high score race?

Gamers and their games are a bit different now. With such high prize pools, sometimes over $150,000 just for a single tournament, the games are purposefully selected to have high ceiling caps and a wide variety of play styles. At the same time, there needs to be a balance so that the average gamer is still able to play, and simultaneously enjoy watching these esports events with their cherished professional players, which is the sole business basis of esports. According to https://www.groenerekenkamer.com, there are benefits to playing esports in men.


With the original release of Doom, and then the rerelease with the added multiplayer over a very old internet protocol, the game changed the scene of esports completely. Originally you were capped at usually 2-4 players, depending on the number of controllers you could connect to a console. Now, not only has multiplayability risen to the PC gamers, but players were able to increase the total number of connected competitors. People bragged about owning copies of Doom – it was the most realistic 3D shooter ever. Instead of the faux 3D (a style where a 2D image is made to believe to be 3D), the game was in full blown 3D. Of course, the aiming, movement, and physics of Doom are nothing compared to what we have now, but that did not stop gamers from playing their hearts out. LAN parties and tournaments became more and more prevalent. Arguably, LAN parties were more important back in the day for the sole reason that the 56K modems just did not cut it for these hardcore gamers.


Some may say that this original 1999 Half Life mod birthed e-sports in the first person shooter community, and that very well may be true. Counter Strike was the next major stepping stone in the regards of player skill gaps. While Doom was a very fun multiplayer game, the game had a very easy aiming mechanic and movement mechanic. Undoubtedly that means a lot of people being able to play casually and it was a terribly fun; however, for a true sport to be conceptualized, a crucial skill gap component is necessary. Specifically, the game must have enough of a difficultly level in order for the players putting in the most practice and training to be rewarded. Doom was essentially based for the majority on inherent skill and ability.

With the new style of aiming – more focus, more controlled – Counter Strike rose to the top as one of the most played games of its era. In fact, it was so popular that successive versions of the game were released again in 2000, twice in 2001, twice in 2002, and its currently used version in 2003 – each making significant changes to the aiming system or movement system.

Another unique characteristic about Counter Strike was that it was a team-based first person shooter. So to recap, you are balancing individual aiming abilities, movement skills (being able to boost jump, peaking corners at the right moment), individual game sense (when to use a flash grenade, when to engage), and lastly team game sense. Combining all of these factors epitomizes a great competitive platform.

As such, many events around the world sprouted up. The CPL, Cyberathlete Professional League, held tournaments on a yearly basis in the United States and featured the most talented players in the world. Eventually this gaming fever hit Europe, germinating gaming teams and tournaments across the pond, too.


In the world outside of first person shooters, something that would tremendously impact the esports scene was brewing in the Blizzard Entertainment studios. No one would have predicted the changes and the huge cult following that would take place shortly after the 1998 release of Starcraft Vanilla.

Starcraft came at a time when real time strategy games were not very similar to what we have now. Of course, the reason for that is that Starcraft was attributed to be the model for so many strategy games later along the road. Everything from the minimap, unit selection, hot key groups, and much more are found in other games even until today. What made Starcraft so unique as an esport, however, was the games skill gap – that the game was essentially chess, at hyper speeds, with thousands upon thousands of more actions and possibilities.

The beginning of Starcraft was very rough, the game was terribly imbalanced for many reasons. Sometimes a race, one of three playable “classes,” in Starcraft clearly was stronger than others. Maps allowed for certain units to be extremely abusive, and the overall game knowledge and sense really was not developed enough. Eventually players began to learn to deal with specific strategies and Blizzard helped the process with its extremely gradual balance patches, but now the game is arguably one of the most balanced games of all time.

The history of the esports scene in Starcraft started with one of the largest gaming competitions of the time, the World Cyber Games. The WCG pitted players from different countries across the world in an Olympic style format. Each gamer for each game could earn points for their team, in this case their country, by placing in the top 3. Starcraft was one of these games and simply put, the Koreans lost terribly. China ended up taking the first WCG in 2001, but little did the rest of the world know, a tiny spark hit Korea that would eventually be combined with other forces to ignite a forest fire of Korean esports.

Individual leagues, team leagues, professional leagues, and amateur leagues took over South Korea. For whatever reason, the country was felt an unsettlingly urge to pursue to become the Mecca of Starcraft. They succeeded. With huge sponsorships from various airlines, TV networks, and other companies interested in entering the world of gaming, the leagues became so successful that eventually two dedicated TV stations to purely gaming were created.

Now the players are the sex icons for Korean teens, preteens, and young adults. Fan girls and fan boys line up in ridiculous numbers in order to just meet their idol players. Many of them skip school, which is an interesting note on why a lot of them cover their faces at these events. Live events, live television, and any other marketing method has been used or is currently being used. Strategies and players have come and gone like fashion trends; however, Starcraft truly was put up against the test of time. Starcraft has prevailed.


On July 27, 2010, Starcraft II was released. Stores were packed to the brim of gamers eager and willing to shell out their $100 for the collector’s edition. The game had changed, but the players were the same – actually not at all. New players from all different games, more fans in to the esports scene, more sponsors and more companies all became critical factors to push esports to where it is now. Esports is at a peak with events having over 200,000 consistent viewers, our events are challenging those numbers of physical sporting events and popular TV shows.

Unfortunately there is not enough space on our server and enough hours in my lifetime for me to write about all of the important esports moments. A few things that come to my mind right off the bat that I have missed is the Championship Gaming Series and console esports. I hope that this gave you a little taste of the competitive gaming scene, and most importantly established some curiosity for you to do your own research.

Whether you are a casual gamer or a hardcore gamer, I truly suggest you learn up on your esports. You are witnessing history being unfolded in front of your eyes. Ultimately, the background and tradition behind the games are important, but the most important part of watching esports is to watch the most highly skilled players playing at incredible speeds. Between the commentators, yourself, and other fans, the atmosphere is beyond electrifying.

Stay tuned to updates from our site, but otherwise you can find more information about MLG and other esports events at www.mlgpro.com and www.teamliquid.net. I hope to hear from your responses while we are at Anaheim!

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