The Evolution of E-Sports

ComputerTwo words that just a few years ago you would never have expected to see together – Professional Gamer. The dreams of almost every teenage boy fulfilled; getting to play games for a living. Well, professional gaming is a reality, and the best teams in the world are making good money and becoming stars in what is a growing global gaming community.

The ever evolving cyber games industry and how it is vast becoming an awarding industry.

Credit for this new thriving industry goes the global multi-player role-playing games that have been booming for the past few years. Sites like Twitch have also been crucial in allowing fans around the world to watch their favourite gamers play in the biggest competitions; online, live and for free.

The concept of electronic gaming came to fruition when the first electronic gaming system was hooked up to a television set in the late 1950’s by Ralph H Bauer. The recently deceased ‘father of video games’ pioneered the Magnavox Odyssey, a primitive “console” displaying spots of light on the television screen, which made an immeasurable impact on the industry and paved the way for future consoles and game development.

Over time, with the development of technology, graphical capabilities began to improve, so did the gaming systems. The first wildly popular home console was the ‘Atari 2600’, utilising plug-in cartridges to play a variety of games including the popular Space Invaders!

Today the electronic gaming industry has come leaps and bounds from where it first began. Dominated by three platforms: Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox, and PC gaming. Gamers & enthusiasts are spoilt for choice with the kinds of games with revolutionary graphics they are exposed to. Gaming has evolved even further becoming not just a hobby for some, but an internationally competitive industry to profit from.

Did you know: that professional gamers dedicate 8-12 hours a day to practice and research gaming, techniques and their competition. On an annual basis, an international competitive video-gaming event takes place in various parts of the world and is sponsored by big corporations such as Samsung Electronics and Microsoft?

The World Cyber Games (WCG) began in 2000, sponsored by the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Information and Communications, and Samsung. The competition initially consisted of 174 participants from 17 different countries with a total prize pool of USD$20,000. The most recent WCG was hosted in 2013 with more than 500,000 participants had a prize pool of USD$300,000.

More recently, the world witnessed one of the biggest e-sports tournament prize pools in history. We covered last year’s The International, but this year’s recording breaking prize pool is most impressive: US$ 11.4 Million!

E-sports, or simply known as gaming these days, has evolved tremendously into becoming somewhat of a cult. On the local front, e-sports is beginning to grow in Malaysia with the creation of a governing body called eSports Malaysia. eSports Malaysia secretary general Rinie Ramli said, “The eSports ecosystem is suffering because most of the events in Malaysia are on an amateur level”. On average a player in Malaysia earns between RM500 and RM1,000 a month, which many see as too little, comparative to the time spent in training and preparing for tournaments.

Nevertheless, Malaysia has seen her share of e-sports athletes. Some even competing on an International scale. Read about: Five Of The Biggest Professional Gaming Teams In Malaysia.

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As for Malaysia, our entry to the market, Malaysia recently in March 2015, hosted the Major All Stars Dota Tournament with a whopping prize pool of USD$111,000 up for grabs. This looks to be a first step. Aside from working with not just the Ministry of Youth and Sports, but also with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Finance who welcome and are willing to collaborate with eSports. While the eSports ecosystem is still new and small compared to overseas markets, this allows us to mold and build Malaysia to someday become the eSports capital of the world.

Datuk Latt Shariman, eSports Malaysia founder and president said “There is no denying that eSports is now on par with traditional sports. We have all the right ingredients such as strategic location, good infrastructure, big gamer community and more. It’s just a matter of time before we achieve our vision.”

To follow the development of Malaysia’s e-sports activity, visit the “e-sukan” official website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. So if anyone has ever told you that gaming is a waste of time, you can prove to them that it is just a matter of time till it becomes profitable :)