We covered the history of competitive gaming and how it has made its way throughout the world. But let’s be serious…What is Competitive Gaming?
What are E-Sports?
Electronic Sports (E-Sports) is a term used for organized video game tournaments. These tournaments are held across the world and go through various video game genres. These include: real-time strategy games(RTS), first-person shooters(FPS), fighting games, and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). Currently, tournament prize pools have gotten higher than ever before.
Every year new tournaments are popping up with higher prize pools and stakes for teams or pro-gamers. Most recently, the Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2), raised a prize pool of over $8.7 million dollars (and it is still increasing). This is way better than a year subscription to Rolling Stone if you ask me.
What are the types of competitive gaming?
Although there isn’t a set of genres or types for competitive gaming there are a few that stand out:
Real Time Strategy (RTS)
Real Time Strategy games is a sub-genre of strategy games. RTS games do not follow a linear turn-based actions. They usually include various tasks for the player to achieve before they can continue on with either battle or the next level. Tasks involve building armies, gathering resources and combining units to battle the opponent.
These games can be demanding as they need quick decision making that will help the gamer in the end. Typical games that are considered RTS are war games like: Age of Empires, Empire Earth, Starcraft, and Warcraft.
Starcraft and Starcraft 2 are by far the most popular RTS games in a competitive environment. It’s the most popular game played in South Korea where at one point had four TV Stations dedicated to Starcraft matches.
First Person Shooters (FPS)
First Person Shooters are games where the gamer sees through the eyes of the character in order to complete tasks or missions. FPS games played competitively are usually team-based in an open map where they can complete various missions. Other type of matches are defeat the other team by eliminating all the players. Some of these games are:
- “King of the Hill”, where teams need to control an area of the map while the opposing team has to try and capture it.
- DeathMatch, where teams placed in a map have to eliminate the other players for points or in limited amount of time.
There are other type of games, but these are the ones that are most popular in a competitive environment.
Games considered FPS include: Counter Strike, Halo, and Battlefield. All of these games are played in a competitive environment and various tournaments. They aren’t as popular as RTS competitive gaming though.
Fighting Games are games where you select a player and fight your opponent until the opponent gets K.O. These games tend to be quick. They use a lot of strategy to create the most hit combos in order to bring the opponent down. Games in this genre include: Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros.
This genre is also one of the most popular in terms of competitive gaming. Street Fighter and Super Smash bros travel around the world with various tournaments. They are exciting to watch because they are quick matches and they all can be unpredictable.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
MOBA style games are characterized by a big map where each player controls one “Hero” or main character and he shares the map with 4 other players. The goal is to take over the opponents base while protecting yours. The maps contain various elements to aid the players and their team’s strategy. It is important for these teams to communicate well so they can win the game. The game also features computer played characters that travel through the map attacking opponents on the way.
MOBA style games gaining more popularity in the e-sports industry. What made it popular was an older game called Defence of the Ancients (DOTA) being the most popular in its time. DOTA was first created as a mod to an RTS Game called: “Starcraft”. Then after Warcraft 3 got released, they remade it for that game.
Currently the most popular games played competitively in the MOBA genre are DOTA2 and League of Legends. League of Legends is a free to play MOBA style game that quickly rose to popularity in the US and the world. The game was born from the idea of DOTA and one of DOTA’s creator took part in creating this game. Its increasing popularity made it the top –competitive played– game in South Korea and around the world. When Valve release DOTA2 it became an instant hit and was on its way to becoming another popular competitive played game.
DOTA2’s tournament named: “The International” is one of the highest prized games in history. They broke the record when they first introduced it with a prize pool of $1.6 million dollars. The 1st place would receive $1 million dollars and the consecutive places would split the rest of the $600,000. This year The International tournament is back with a bigger prize pool currently set at $8.7 million dollars (still increasing!).
There are other genres that are played competitive but they aren’t as popular. A honorable mention would be sports game where there are various tournaments played across the world for them. An example of a sports game played competitively is FIFA.
Competitive gaming continues to grow with more games being added to the tournaments. Most currently the game of Hearthstone became another huge success in the e-sports community.
In the end competitive gaming will not go away. There is an expanding catalog of games out there that can be played competitively. This is an area in sports where anyone with enough practice can achieve pro-gaming level.