2018 has started off strong in the world of professional gaming. Games that have long been popular, like League of Legends, Counter-Strike Global Offensive and DOTA 2, continue to sport impressive viewer counts on twitch. During major tournaments, these games can each bring in well over 500,000 concurrent viewers.
The biggest news in esports this year has been Blizzard’s Overwatch League. This is the first time a game developer has ever sponsored and funded a league for their game, and so far they’ve been doing a good job of pulling in viewers. In fact, Blizzard and Twitch formed a 90-million dollar partnership for the first two seasons of the league.
Blizzard has marked a major turn in the esports world by introducing city-based teams. One of the biggest differences between esports and real sports has always been the lack of regional fan bases. With teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Uprising and Seoul Dynasty, Blizzard hopes to inspire regional Overwatch fan bases across the country and the world.
If other major esports titles take a turn in this direction, it seems only a matter of time before professional gaming is fully mainstream. In fact, some people believe it’s already there. This is especially true in certain age ranges: among 18 to 25-year-olds, esports already boast higher viewership than certain hallmark events in real sports.
The future is looking bright for professional gamers. Of course, becoming a professional gamer requires an immense amount of talent and absolute commitment to a single game. But, to put it in simple terms: yes. You can start a career in esports, and the financial reward for doing so is only expected to increase.