What began as a leisure activity, today a well-paid profession, Esports has become a multi-million dollar industry that has the attention of half a billion fans worldwide, two-thirds of whom are spectators. We have always been mesmerized and entertained by competitive gaming. Anyone who believes that esports has only been around for a few years was wrong!
The foundation was laid back in the 1950s and 60s, when games were usually played outdoors. Our technological process has played a key role in the birth of esports. The first attempt at video games was in 1947 and 1958, where the moderately recognizable game Tennis for Two was created which allowed two people to play against each other. In 1962, computer scientist Alexander Shafto Douglas was doing his PhD about the interaction between humans and computers and had the idea to create a game called ‘XOX’ also known as ‘Tic-Tac-Toe’.
Finally in 1962, a group of young MIT graduates led by Steven Russell created the first non-commercial computer game – Spacewar, on a PDP-10 computer. And on October 19 1972, the first official video game competition on record took place at Stanford University. Students gathered to compete against each other in Spacewar, with the top prize of a one year’s subscription of Rolling Stone magazine going to winner Bruce Baumgart. Over 10,000 players attended the event which paved the way for video games to reach the public’s eye.
Each passing decade has seen esports reach new milestones and the future continues to look brighter. Today, there are many esports teams, events and organisers, with impressive prize pools and strong online communities and streaming platforms such as Twitch. Now popular games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Valorant, FIFA etc continue on the Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) formula and have huge followings as well as players on a daily basis.
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