The fascinating evolution of competitive gaming

Over the past decade, we’ve seen video gaming turn from a solitary affair into a multinational multiplayer experience thanks to the advent of broadband technologies and the phenomenon that is competitive gaming.

2016 has already seen some massive competitive gaming tournaments such as Dreamhack in Sweden that saw thousands of fans turning up to see teams of players from all over the world competing in games as far-ranging as Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Smite, to Super Smash Bros Melee and Street Fighter V. Such events have been key in producing a new generation of professional video games players with rising stars like Phenom gaining global acclaim and some pretty impressive prize winnings that, along with the sports betting options, have significantly raised the profile of competitive gaming.

The fact that competitive gaming has become increasingly monetised has helped tournaments like The International provide a prize pool of over $18 million for gamers playing the Dota 2 battle arena game. And seeing as games like League of Legends have proven to be capable of delivering an enjoyable spectator experience, it’s no surprise to find that competitive games now feature on the Betway site where gaming fans can bet on their favourite individuals and teams in the rapidly growing selection of international tournaments.

It’s the spectator experience that’s proven critical to the success of competitive gaming as online viewing options through Twitch.tv and YouTube’s gaming channel have made it easy for any gamer to stream their exploits live in front of a global audience. But it’s the fact that the traditional sports broadcasters like ESPN have started covering competitive gaming that signals how this niche activity could soon go mainstream as advertisers prove to be endlessly fascinated with new ways to tap into the emergent youth market.

As such there’s been no end of sponsorship deals between drinks companies and professional gamers with the likes of Red Bull and Coca Cola being keen to have their brand name emblazoned across millions of computer screens across the world. And with a growing legion of managers, agents and coaches showing an increasing willingness to train the fledgling gamer into a worldwide competitive gaming star, it looks like it’s only a matter of time before competitive gaming overtakes traditional sports to become the focus of sports betting sites and mainstream television channels.