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Esports: No Longer A Couch Potato’s Pipe Dream

In a 1990 panel of the classic The Far Side comic, proud parents dream over of the job opportunities that await their Nintendo-playing son in the far future of 2005.

At the time of its publication, the cartoon was absurdity to the public. No one could ever make a living playing video games, was the premise of the joke. Immediately, the photocopied and faxed gag found its place on the walls and cubicles of Q.A. game testers in every game developers’ studios. Game testers had thought they had the last laugh. Even then, game testers could have not foreseen Esports, playing video games at Rockstar athlete levels of fame and fortune.

"Sponsors spent $900 million on Esports in 2018. In 2017, top players earned from $2.83 million"

Since before the invention of the multiple controllers, casual competition has always been a part of video gaming culture; from the rec room to pub tournaments, to online multi-player.

With the advent and growth of live streaming, the 2010s brought gaming to a higher level, not only in professional play but in audience viewership; a lucrative magnet for high-paying sponsorship.

According to Business Insider, sponsors spent $900 million on Esports in 2018. In 2017, top players earned from $2.83 million (Saahil Arora, US) to $1.94 million (Kurtis Ling, Canada). Stadium Esports have also seen Major League Sports franchise participation with professional gamer counterparts to their professional teams. It is almost enough to make parents forego the purchase of sports equipment and buy their child all the games systems they want, with visions of their little Esports athlete dancing in mom’s or dad’s head. Esports: 2020 Olympics, here we come?

Last month, in VANAS’ Vancouver backyard, a rock show sized tournament took place to a sellout crowd at Rogers Arena, with thousands of more viewers watching it through streaming. The game was DOTA 2 (Defenders Of The Ancients II), a free-play game by Valve Corporation, a video game developer who are just a short drive south from Vancouver BC to Washington State. The Georgia Straight reported tickets went from $125 to $250, with more than $30 million in prize money.

"Tickets went from $125 to $250, with more than $30 million in prize money"

Game Design, Concept Art, 3D Animation, 2D Animation, Visual Effects. programming, etc., the creation of video games is a long collaborative process, with skills comparable to creating the biggest Hollywood blockbuster; skills not only to deliver a medium to the game-playing consumer, but now also a quality owed to the professional gamer, driving current opportunities in gaming.