Electronic sport

This article is about video game competitions. For depictions of traditional sports in video games, see sports game. For games involving exercise, see exergaming.
Video games

Electronic sports (eSports) is a term for organized video game competitions, especially between professionals. Related terms include competitive gaming, professional gaming, and cybersport. The most common video game genres associated with electronic sports are real-time strategy, fighting, first-person shooter, and multiplayer online battle arena. Tournaments such as the World Cyber Games, the Evolution Championship Series, and the Intel Extreme Masters provide both live broadcasts of the competition, and cash prizes to competitors.


There is some debate about labeling some video games as "sports". Recently, eSports has gone through tremendous growth, incurring a large increase in both viewership and prize money.[1] While some point to this growth as justification for designating some games as sports, others contend that video games will never reach the status of "true sports".[2] In addition, many in the fighting games community maintain a distinction between their competitive gaming competitions and the more commercially connected esports competitions of other genres.[3]

Geographically, esports competitions are largely confined to developed countries. South Korea has the best established eSports organizations, officially licensing progamers since the year 2000.[4] Along with South Korea, most competitions take place in Europe, North America, Australia and China. Despite its large video game market, eSports in Japan is relatively underdeveloped, which has been attributed largely to its broad anti-gambling laws.[5] In 2013, Canadian League of Legends player Danny "Shiphtur" Le became the first progamer to receive a United States P-1A visa, a category designated for "Internationally Recognized Athletes".[6][7]

Demographically, Major League Gaming has reported viewership that is approximately 85% male and 15% female, with 60% of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34.[8] Related this appreciable male majority, female gamers within the industry are subject to significant sexism and negative stereotypes.[9] Despite this, many women within eSports are hopeful about the general progress in overcoming these problems.[10][11]


Early history (1972-1989)

Video games have been played competitively since their inception with the earliest competitions simply being players attempting to beat each other's high scores. The earliest known video game competition took place on October 19, 1972, at Stanford University for the game Spacewar, where students were invited to an "Intergalactic spacewar olympics" whose grand prize was a year's subscription for Rolling Stone.[12] The Space Invaders Championship held by Atari in 1981 was the earliest large scale video game competition, attracting more than 10,000 participants across the United States, establishing competitive gaming as a mainstream hobby.[13]

In the summer of 1981, Walter Day founded a high score record keeping organization called Twin Galaxies.[14] The organization went on to help promote video games and publicize its records through publications such as the Guinness Book of World Records, and in 1983 it created the U.S. National Video Game Team. The team was involved in a number of competitions, including running the Video Game Masters Tournament for Guinness World Records[15][16] and sponsoring the North American Video Game Challenge tournament.[17]

During this time electronic sports players and tournaments begun being featured in popular newspapers and magazines including Life and Time.[18] One of the most well known classic arcade game players is Billy Mitchell, for his listing as holding the records for high scores in six games including Pac-Man and Donkey Kong in the 1985 issue of the Guinness Book of World Records.[19]

Televised eSports events aired during this period included the American show Starcade which ran between 1982 and 1984 airing a total of 133 episodes,[20] and a video game tournament as part of TV show That's Incredible!.[21] Video game tournaments were also featured as part of the plot of various films, including 1982's Tron.[22]

Esports goes online (1990-1999)

During this period, many games benefited from increasing internet connectivity, especially PC games. For example, developed as a successor to 1986's Xtrek, Netrek was first played in 1988. It is an Internet game for up to 16 players, written almost entirely in cross-platform open source software. Netrek was the third Internet game, the first Internet team game,[23] the first Internet game to use metaservers to locate open game servers, and the first to have persistent user information. In 1993 it was credited by Wired Magazine as "the first online sports game".[24] As of 2010 it is the oldest internet game still actively played.

Some large eSports tournaments also occurred in the 1990's. Nintendo held their World Championships in 1990, touring across the United States, with the finals at Universal Studios Hollywood in California. There were 90 finalists, and the champions were Jeff Hanson (11 & under), Thor Aackerlund (12–17), and Paul White (18 & over). The Nintendo championships are notable for the silver cartridges distributed to all of the finalists, which now fetch high prices on eBay.[25] Gold cartridges were distributed as a prize in a Nintendo Power magazine contest. Nintendo held a 2nd World Championships in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) called the Nintendo PowerFest '94. There were 132 finalists that played in the finals in San Diego, CA. Mike Iarossi took home 1st prize. Blockbuster Video also ran their own World Game Championships in the early 1990s, co-hosted by GamePro magazine. Citizens from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Chile were eligible to compete. Games from the 1994 championships included NBA Jam and Virtua Racing.[26]

Television shows featuring eSports during this period included the British shows GamesMaster and Bad Influence! the Australian gameshow A*mazing, which would show two children competing in various Nintendo games in order to win points.


The release of Doom on December 10, 1993 marked the popularization of first person shooter as a competitive eSports genre. Doom spawned newsgroups, chat rooms and among the first known users of IRC for gaming. Players connected to each other modem-to-modem and online competitive gaming was born. Shortly after the release of Doom II on October 10, 1994, the pioneering matchmaking service DWANGO (Dial up Wide Area Network Gaming Operations) firm launched their services. DWANGO, charged users the cost of a local telephone call to connect to their dial-up bulletin board services. With 20+ servers scattered throughout urban locations in North America DWANGO became the early hub of competitive gaming. Initially, online gaming was available only to those with superior internet connections. These included ISP employees, university/college students and large businesses. Early client side software includes iDoom, Kali and iFrag. To accompany the launch of Doom II, Microsoft held the first offline tournament for PC players, Deathmatch '95. Deathmatch '95 (aka Judgment Day Deathmatch 95 & Dwango’s Deathmatch 95) was aimed to be a competitive offline gaming tournament featuring the most popular title of the year, Doom II. This format, with gamers attending a single location and using standardized hardware, has defined eSports competitions since.

Rise of global tournaments (2000-2009)

Although some large tournaments were founded before the 21st century, the number and scope of tournaments increased significantly, going from about 10 tournaments in the year 2000 to about 260 in 2010.[27] Many of the largest tournaments today were founded during this period, including the World Cyber Games, the Intel Extreme Masters, and Major League Gaming.

The Halo series is an Xbox exclusive first person shooter which has been featured prominently in the American league Major League Gaming. The series has also been played internationally, such as the European Console League's event in July 2010 in Liverpool.[28] The Australian Cyber League hosted a Pro Circuit with tournaments in several major cities in Australia, including a January 2009 event in Brisbane.[29] Partially due to changes to the series' design, Halo competitions have gone into steep decline by 2013, as the ACL only hosts Halo tournaments online,[30] and the formerly staple MLG game was dropped from future competitions.[31]

Blizzard's MMO World of Warcraft added PvP features to the game after its release, and was initially received with some enthusiasm as an eSport.[32] However, the game was generally phased out of professional competition between 2010 and 2011.[33][34]

In September 2006 FUN Technologies held a Worldwide Webgames Championship for a $1 million prize. The competition had 71 contestants and featured the casual games Bejeweled 2, Solitaire, and Zuma. The champion was 21-year-old Kavitha Yalavarthi of Odessa, Texas.[35]

While not nearly as popular as other RTS games during this period, the Age of Empires series was played competitively as well, and was part of the World Cyber Games in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008.[36]

StarCraft: Brood War

StarCraft: Brood War was foundational in the establishment of e-sports, and along with Starcraft II, remains among the most popular series in competitive gaming. Starcraft competitions did especially well in South Korea, which remains central to the StarCraft scene as a whole. Professionals in Korea achieved a status similar to professional athletes.[37] In the west, StarCraft enjoyed significantly less competitive popularity. StarCraft was the very first game to have been accepted into the World Cyber Games tournament, and had a tournament at their events every year until it was replaced by StarCraft II in 2011.[38] In Korea, the most important StarCraft competitions took place in leagues such as the Ongamenet Starleague, the MBCGame StarCraft League, and Proleague. Finals for these league attracted tens of thousands of fans, and became very popular on Korean cable TV.

Warcraft III

Warcraft III has been played professionally all around the world, especially in South Korea, China, France, and Germany. Although the game never achieved the same competitive popularity of the original StarCraft, the game supported a few dozen professional teams. The game lacks a singular world championship, as there have been numerous large tournaments. Some events have been organized by Blizzard Entertainment, some have been televised Korean leagues and several large tournaments have been held in China. Chinese players generally have used their own clients for online competition, due to a poor connection to the outside world. Some notable Warcraft III players include: Xiaofeng "Sky" Li, Dae Hui "FoV" Cho, Jang "Moon" Jae Ho, Fredrik "MaDFroG" Johansson and Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen. In more recent times, Warcraft III competition has declined in popularity. Many professional Warcraft III players have since moved to playing Starcraft II, including Grubby and Moon. Despite this, Warcraft III continues to be played competitively, still appearing in WCG 2013, for example.

Game design

While it is common for video games to be designed with the experience of the player in game being the only priority, many successful eSports games been designed to be played professionally from the beginning. Developers may decide to add dedicated eSports features, or even make design compromises to support high level competition. Games such as Starcraft II,[39] League of Legends,[40] and Dota 2[41] have all been designed, at least in part, to support professional competition.

Spectator mode

In addition to allowing players to participate a given game, many game developers have added dedicated observing features for the benefit of spectators. This can range from simply allowing players to watch the game unfold from the competing player's point of view, to a highly modified interface that gives spectators access to information even the players may not have. Games with these features include Starcraft II,[42][43] Dota 2,[44] League of Legends,[45] and Counter-Strike.[46]


Where there is reliable high speed internet connectivity, the most convenient method playing an electronic sports match is often over the Internet. Although game servers are often separated by region, real-time connections between competitors is mostly limited by connection speed and reliability rather than fundamental limitations imposed by physical distance. Downsides to online connections include increased difficulty detecting cheating compared to physical events, and greater network latency, which can negatively impact players' performance, especially at high levels of competition. Despite its shortcomings, many competitions take place online, especially for smaller tournaments and exhibition games. Teams (or "clans") may set up matches via an Internet Relay Chat network such as QuakeNet, which was originally created for setting up Quake matches. Another common method is for players to use clients built into the games themselves. An early adopter of this method was the creation of Blizzard's Battle.net in 1996, which has been integrated into both the Warcraft and StarCraft series. This method is now also common in console games, with services such as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. After competitors have contacted each other, the game is often managed by a game server, either remotely to each of the competitors, or running on one of the competitor's machines.

Local area network

Playing over a local area network (LAN) has a number of advantages: the network has very little lag and higher quality, and the competitors can be directly scrutinized for cheating. At professional events administrators will normally be present to ensure fair play. Because there is still a possibility of gamers using Modding to alter their hardware to unfairly modify certain aspects of the game or controller inputs to their advantage, some competitions prevent this by supplying all competitors with identical hardware for the event. LAN events also create a more social atmosphere as a result of all competitors being physically present. Due to the advantages of LAN, many gamers organize LAN parties or visit LAN centres, and most major tournaments are conducted over LANs.

The importance of LAN play has been discussed for many games. In contrast to the original Starcraft, Starcraft II was released without support for LAN play. Despite some strongly negative reactions from players, Blizzard supports online game play exclusively for the game.[47] League of Legends was originally released for online play only, but announced in October 2012 that a LAN client was in the works for tournament play.[48] In September 2013, Valve added support for LAN play to Dota 2 in a patch for the game.[49]

Electronic sports tournaments

Although competitions involving video games have long existed, e-sports underwent a significant transition in the late 1990s. Tournaments became much larger, and corporate sponsorship became more common. Increasing viewership brought e-sports to a wider audience.[37] For example, the CPL is sponsored by Sierra Entertainment, Razer, Cyber Shots Energy Drink, and Gamerail.[50] Video game competitions have referees or officials to monitor for cheating.[51] These video gaming tournaments also bring in fans, that either show up at the tournament or view it online[52]

Cyberathlete Professional League

In June 1997 Angel Munoz launched the world's first eSports league, the Cyberathlete Professional League or CPL.[53] In 2005 the CPL moved to a World Tour format. The 2005 CPL World Tour focused on the one-on-one deathmatch game Painkiller and had a total prize purse of $1,000,000. The winner of the CPL Grand Finals event, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, went home with the grand prize of $150,000, while Sander "Vo0" Kaasjager took home the MVP trophy for having the most tournament wins. In March 2008, the CPL ceased operations, citing a "crowded field of competing leagues".[54] In 2010, WoLong Ventures PTE of Singapore announced that they had finished a two-year acquisition process of the CPL from its original owners.[55] Following this acquisition, the CPL has hosted annual competitions in China, in collaboration with the municipal government of Shenyang.[56]

World Cyber Games

In the year 2000, the first World Cyber Games event was held in Seoul, South Korea. There were competitions for Quake III Arena, StarCraft, FIFA 2000, and Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. The competition initially had 174 competitors from 17 different countries with a total prize purse of $20,000. In 2006, the prize purse had risen to $462,000, and the event had grown to 9 different competitions and 700 qualified participants from 70 different countries. The WCG continues to host championships for a variety of games into 2013.

Major League Gaming

2002 saw the launch of Major League Gaming, the largest organized professional gaming league in North America. Competitors from 28 different countries have participated in their tournaments, while over one million participants have competed online.[57] In 2006, MLG became the first televised console gaming league in the United States, with their Halo 2 Pro Series being broadcast by USA Network.[58] Major League Gaming has included many games in its lineup including: Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and StarCraft II.[59] Events are now broadcast on their homepage. MLG has continued to run events into 2013.

Electronic Sports World Cup

Electronic Sports World Cup is an annual international championship based in France. The first Electronic Sports World Cup event was held in 2003, with a total of 358 participants from 37 countries, and a prize purse of € 150.000.[60] To participate in the tournament, competitors must place in their country's national qualifier.[61] By 2006, the event had grown to 547 qualified participants from 53 countries and a prize purse of $400,000.[62] The event also featured the first competition with a game specifically made for it: TrackMania Nations.

World eSports Games

The World e-Sports Games is a competition based in Asia that was first held in early 2005, featuring Counter-Strike and Warcraft III as main titles. Players resided in Seoul, South Korea throughout most of the tournament, and the finals took place in Beijing, China. Matches were broadcast on Korean television. Attendees were all invited based on past performances including Jang "Moon" Jae Ho, Team NoA and Li "Sky" Xiaofeng. After 3 seasons, the tournament was renamed the World eSports Masters, and moved to Hangzhou, China. As of 2012, the tournament hosts competitions for Starcraft 2 and League of Legends.[63]

Teams and Associations

Professional gamers, or "progamers", are often associated with gaming teams and/or broader gaming associations. Teams include Evil Geniuses, Fnatic and Team Liquid. Associations include the Korean e-Sports Association, United Kingdom eSports Association, and the International eSport Federation.

Ethics in eSports

Progamers are usually obligated to behave ethically, abiding by both the explicit rules rules set out by tournaments, associations, and teams, as well as following general expectations of good sportsmanship. For example it is common practice, and considered good etiquette to chat "gg" when you have been defeated.[64] Many games rely on the fact competitors have limited information about the game state. In a prominent example of good conduct, during a 2012 IEM Starcraft II game, the players Feast and DeMusliM both voluntarily offered information about their stategies to negate the influence of outside information inadvertently leaked to "Feast" during the game.[65]

In some cases, there have been serious violations of the rules. In 2010, eleven StarCraft: Brood War players were found guilty of fixing matches for profit, and were ultimately fined and banned from future competition. Two teams were denied prize money for collusion during the 2012 MLG summer championship.[66] In 2012, Azubu Frost was fined $30,000 for cheating during a semifinal match of the world playoffs.[67] In 2013, the well known progamer Greg "Idra" Fields was fired from his team for cursing at a fan on an internet forum.[68]

Prize money and sponsorship

There are a number of titles that support a professional gaming scene. Sometimes game developers will use e-sports as a marketing outlet for their games, providing prize money for competition directly.[69] In other cases, sponsorship extends well beyond the developers of the game in question. This commonly includes tech companies and companies selling computer hardware or energy drinks. For some games, total prize money can amount to millions of dollars a year.[69][70]

Often hosting a large eSports event is not immediately profitable. For example, the comparatively large IGN Pro League (or IPL) was originally a subsidiary of the IGN company, but was sold off during a round of cuts to the company in early 2013.[71] Blizzard entertainment acquired the IPL, but decided to integrate the IPL team into their esports division rather than continuing to run IPL branded events.[72] Riot has confirmed that their League of Legends Championship series is currently "a significant investment that we’re not making money from".[73]

There is considerable variation and negotiation over the relationship between video game developers and tournament organizers and broadcasters. While the original Starcraft events emerged in South Korea largely independently of Blizzard, the company decided to require organizers and broadcasters to authorize events featuring the sequel Starcraft II.[74] In the short term, this lead to a deadlock with the Korean e-Sports Association.[75] Ultimately, an agreement was reached in 2012.[76] Currently, Blizzard requires authorization for tournaments with more than $10,000 USD in prizes.[77] Riot Games has taken a more hands on approach, offering rewards to small tournament organizers who seek authorization from the publisher.

Besides prize money from tournament wins, players may also be supported by a team salary. A corporate team sponsorship can include coverage for things like travel expenses, gaming hardware, or financial support of the team. Prominent esports sponsors include companies such as Razer.[78]

Media coverage

The main medium for electronic sports coverage is the Internet. Coverage of eSports by general news organizations is generally sparse; most reports come from news organizations with a technology or video games focus. Cadred and ESFI World[79] are among the few independent news organizations specifically dedicated to electronic sports. Other typical sources for information include video game developer's websites, websites of professional teams, and independent community websites. Especially since the popularization of streaming in eSports, organizations within eSports no longer prioritize television coverage, such as Riot Games' Dustin Beck stating that "TV's not a priority or a goal".[80]

Live streaming

Many e-sports events are streamed online to viewers over the internet. Dreamhack Winter 2011, for example, reached 1.7 million unique viewers.[81] With the shutdown of the Own3d streaming service in 2013, Twitch is by far the most popular streaming service for competitive gaming.[82]

While coverage of live events usually brings in the largest viewership counts, the recent popularization of streaming services has allowed individuals to broadcast their own game play independent of such events as well. Individual broadcasters can enter an agreement with Twitch in which they receive a portion of the advertisement revenue from commercials which run on the stream they create.[83]


In South Korea, electronic sports and events are regularly televised by dedicated 24-hour cable TV game channel Ongamenet, and formerly MBCGame. The most frequent games in South Korean electronic sports are the real-time strategy games StarCraft and League of Legends. The South Korean scene is often cited as an model of popularised electronic sports by those who would like to see a similar level of popularity in the west.[84]

Elsewhere, television coverage of esports has been generally sporadic. In Germany, GIGA Television covered esports until its shutdown in 2009. In the UK, XLEAGUE.TV broadcasts on SKY channel 208, showing both features on eSports and broadcasting matches from its online leagues and tournaments, which for the purpose of television shows, are shot from its studio rather than played online. This channel has ceased broadcasting as of 1 March 2009. The online e-sports only channel ESL TV[85] briefly attempted a paid television model re-branded GIGA II from June 2006 to autumn 2007. In France, Game One broadcast e-sport matches in a show called "Arena Online" which was associated with the invitational tournament Xfire Trophy.[86] In the United States, ESPN hosted a show called Madden Nation, which showed gamers competing for a cash prize playing the Madden NFL game for Xbox 360 from 2005 to 2008.[87] DirecTV broadcast a tournament they created named the Championship Gaming Series for 2 seasons in 2007 and 2008.[84] CBS aired prerecorded footage of the 2007 World Series of Video Games tournament that was held in Louisville, Kentucky.[88] The G4 television channel originally covered video games exclusively, but has since broadened its focus significantly.[84]


Electronic sports tournaments commonly utilize commentators or "casters" to provide live commentary of games in progress, similar to a traditional sports commentator. For some casters, providing commentary for electronic sports is a full-time position by itself.[89] Prominent casters for Starcraft II include Dan Stemkoski and Nick Plott.

Fighting games

Fighting games were some of the earliest games to be played in professional tournaments, with the founding of what would become the Evolution Championship Series in 1995.[90] Competitions in the genre are generally individual competitions in which both players providing input to the same machine. The genre originally focused on arcade play, but has gradually moved to console play as arcades have declined. The Street Fighter series, The King of Fighters series, Mortal Kombat series, Marvel vs. Capcom series, Tekken series, and Super Smash Bros. series are amongst those fighting games played at a professional level. Important tournaments for the genre include the Evolution Championship Series in the USA.

Fighting game enthusiasts generally prefer the moniker "competitive gaming", and often eschew the term "e-sports", citing cultural differences between the predominately PC-gaming esports communities and the older arcade-gaming community.[91][3] Member of the fighting games community are generally especially cognizant of their connection to the old arcade-era competitions, wishing to prioritize the preservation the spirit of those competitions over simple monetization of fighting competitions.[92]

Street Fighter

The Street Fighter has one of the earliest and longest running professional gaming scenes.[90] Professional Street Fighter players include Daigo Umehara, who had two of his matches included in a 2011 Kotaku list of "The 10 Best Moments in Pro-Gaming History". His early 1998 match against American player Alex Valle in Street Fighter Alpha 3 ranked sixth and his 2004 comeback against American player Justin Wong in Street Fighter III: Third Strike ranked first, while his 2009 grand finals match against Wong in Street Fighter IV at Evo 2009 was listed as having "[j]ust missed the cut."[93]

First-person shooters

First person shooters focus on simulating a firefight from a first person perspective, and may be either individual or team based. Less popular games include the PC game Team Fortress 2, which is featured in a few smaller leagues such as the ESEA League, United Gaming Clans,[94] and European Team Fortress 2 League.[95]


Quake is a series 1v1 PC based games developed by id Software. In 1996, id released the original Quake, and launched QuakeCon. QuakeCon is an annual convention which hosts competitions for the series, and has become the largest LAN event in North America.[96] The first offline Quake tournament, Red Annihilation took place in May 1997. The winner, Dennis Fong, going under the alias "Thresh", took home the prize of Quake co-creator John D. Carmack's own red Ferrari 328 GTS convertible.[97]

Quake 4 supported a small professional scene, with a dozen professional players signed to a few professional teams and a number of players marketing themselves through other means. Tournament play for Quake 4 peaked around 2006, with the game included in tournaments such as the Electronic Sports World Cup,[98] the World Series of Video Games before the league's demise,[99] the World Cyber Games 2006,[100] and KODE5.[101] As of 2008, Quake 4 has fallen out of favor in competition for the previous game in the series, Quake III Arena.

Quake Live was released in 2010, primarily based on Quake III Arena. Quake Live was played in tournaments such as Dreamhack, QuakeCon, and FaceIt. The popularity of the title declined after a couple years. In 2012, the last major tournament to host Quake competitions, the Intel Extreme Masters, decided to drop the title.[102]


The Counter-strike series is a series of team based first person shooters which began as a Half-Life mod which was bought by Valve and released from beta in 2000. Professional competition is centered in North America and Europe in tournaments such as the World Cyber Games, CEVO, ESEA League, and the Electronic Sports League. The defunct league Championship Gaming Series franchised teams with contracted players who played Counter-Strike: Source.

The most recent game in the series, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, was released in 2012. Although it appears counter strike will not appear in the World Cyber Games 2013,[103] the largest prizepool in the series' history has been announced for Dreamhack winter 2013.[104]

Real-time strategy

Competitions involving traditional real time strategy games generally feature individual competitors competing on personal computers over a local area network or the internet.

StarCraft II

After its release in 2010, Starcraft II competitions gradually replaced the prior StarCraft: Brood War professional competitions. For example, StarCraft II has replaced the original game in the WGC, and the initially Broodwar-focused Proleague mixed Starcraft II into their competitions, before finally phasing out Broodwar entirely. Initially, disagreements between Blizzard and Kespa prevented many players in Korea from moving to Starcraft II, but conditions improved, and were ultimately resolved by 2012.

Many leagues and e-sports organizations in Korea and across the world host StarCraft II tournaments, including the Team Liquid StarLeague, Major League Gaming, North American Star League, DreamHack, the Intel Extreme Masters and the GOMTV Global Starcraft II League. In 2012, Blizzard Entertainment created the StarCraft II World Championship Series. The system divides players into three leagues: WCS Korea, WCS Europe, and WCS North America. Players earn points based on their performance in many different tournaments, including the ones mentioned above, and the 16 players with the most points advance to world championship at BlizzCon.[105]

Sports games

Sports games are games based on physical competitions. Along with the more popular games below, Nascar hosts an affiliated annual video game competition since 2010 known as the NASCAR iRacing.com World Championship Series, which had a grand prize of $10,500 USD in 2011.[106] The TrackMania racing series supports eSports competitions centered in France at the Electronic Sports World Cup,[107][108] but also at the Electronic Sports League, and the FuturTech Gaming League, for example.


FIFA Football is a generally individual competition available on consoles as well as PCs. FIFA has been an official game of the World Cyber Games since its first tournament in 2001.[109] In 2003, a FIFA tournament was also held at the first event of CPL Europe.[110] Germany has the biggest FIFA Football community, hosting leagues such as the Electronic Sports League and the World League eSport Bundesliga (which was aired on the national TV-broadcaster Deutsches Sportfernsehen before the league's cessation). There are also leagues in South Korea like the Ongamenet FifaLeague that are televised. The ESL continues to host FIFA competitions into 2013,[111] as does the ESWC.[108]

Multiplayer online battle arena

Multiplayer online battle arena games are historically a spin off of real time strategy games, but are different enough that they are now generally considered a separate genre. While traditional RTS games feature many units controlled by a single player, MOBAs are typically team focused, the model being five players on a team, each controlling a single "hero" unit. MOBAs are generally played on personal computers. Other competitive MOBAs include Heroes of Newerth.[112]

Dota 2

The Dota franchise began as a fan-made Warcraft III mod named Defense of the Ancients (DotA), released in 2003. The popularity of the original mod, both in casual and competitive play, encouraged Valve Corporation to create a stand-alone sequel, Dota 2. Together, the two games are amongst the most popular electronic sports games played professionally. These titles have been featured at major international tournaments, including DreamHack,[113] as well as the World Cyber Games and the ESWC.[114] Valve hosted Dota 2's public debut in 2011 at The International, which featured a US $1 million grand prize.[115] In 2012, Valve hosted The International 2, which also had a million dollar grand prize.[116] In 2013, The International offered the largest prize pool for a single event in electronic sports history, totaling over $2.8 million USD.[117]

Early in the development of Dota 2, Valve was legally opposed by Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment, both of which voiced their opinions that the DotA name should have remained a community asset. On August 9, 2010, Riot filed an opposing trademark for "DOTA", in order to "protect the work that dozens of authors have done to create the game".[118] Valve subsequently won the case, but was opposed by Blizzard, who filed a trademark with similar reasoning.[119] On May 11, 2012, Blizzard and Valve announced that the dispute had been settled, with Valve retaining the commercial franchising rights to the term "Dota", while non-commercial usage of the name could still be utilized.[120]

League of Legends

League of Legends (LoL) is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows, primarily inspired by Defense of the Ancients. It was released on October 27, 2009. In an early LoL tournament, the game was featured as a promotional title in the 2010 World Cyber Games in Los Angeles. The victors were the Counter Logic Gaming team from North America, winning a $7,000 prize. LoL was added to the Intel Extreme Masters lineup for the 2011 Electronic Sports League season.[121] The Season 1 World Championships were held at Dreamhack summer 2011 in Sweden.[122] The European team Fnatic defeated teams from Europe and the USA to win US$50,000 of the tournament's US$100,000 prize pool.[123] According to Riot, more than 1.6 million viewers tuned into the streaming broadcast over the course of the event, including over 210,000 viewers watching during the final match.[124]

Riot announced a prize pool of US $5 million to be paid out over Season 2, allocated to a variety of tournaments featuring League of Legends.[125] The Season 2 World Championship featured a prize pool of 2 million US dollars. Taipei Assassins of Taiwan defeated Azubu Frost of South Korea in the grand finals, winning the 1 million dollar grand prize. During the quarterfinal match against Team Solomid, Azubu Frost player Woong looked at the spectator minimap, resulting in a fine that reduced their winnings by US$30,000.[126] The League of Legends Season 2 World Finals match was the most watched e-sport event of all time, with 8.2 million unique viewers and a peak of 1.1 million concurrent viewers on internet streaming and Korean and Chinese television.[127]

In season 3, the total prize pool was US $8 million.[128] The 2013 Season 3 Championships was held in Los Angeles, featuring a prize pool is $2 million with $1 million for first place. The team SKT T1 won the final, which took place at the Staples Centre on October 4.[129][130]

See also

  • BarCraft


External links

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