After a long day at work, many of us can’t wait to unwind. Some of us like reading, others prefer sports — but undoubtedly, one of the most prevalent hobbies in the world today is gaming; with equipment like this pro gaming mouse rising in popularity and demand along with it. In fact, there’s an estimated 1.82 billion gamers globally and the number is projected to rise to 2.7 billion by 2021. To put things into perspective, that’s about one-third of all the people on Earth, more than eight times the population of America!
So why is gaming so popular, and how does it work? If you have an interest in the world of gaming but are too shy to ask, then you’re in the right place. Here are three common questions about the gaming world and the appeal of gaming answered.
1. Am I a gamer?
Simply put, if you’re someone who plays games on any electronic device, you’re part of the gaming family. You don’t have to hit hourly quotas or be super skilled — as long as you play an electronic game on a regular basis, you’re a gamer!
That said, there’s definitely a difference between professional and amateur gamers. For instance, professional gaming, otherwise known as E-sports, is more competition than recreation. In fact, specialists acknowledge that E-gamers, like any other competitive athlete, face difficult tests of endurance when playing professionally. The competition arena also tests their coordination, planning, and capacity to perform under tremendous pressure.
Another obvious difference is that professional gamers usually do gaming full-time. While amateur players might manage to find a couple of hours after work, professional gamers are at it for the entire day. And it’s good sense, too, as they earn money and make a living from playing. Apart from winning the competition or tournament money, they also get paid for live streams and sponsorships. Some players even choose to join professional teams where they have normal working hours and income from playing in the team.
2. What do gamers typically look like?
When we say the word “gamer”, many automatically conjure a picture of male gamer, perhaps a teenager staying up to play games at night. Well, according to data collected over the past few years, that’s not actually what the demographic looks like.
As a matter of fact, there are almost as many women as men who identify as gamers. 46% of all gamers in America are women, far from the stereotype that gaming is a largely male-dominated activity.
That said, this applies more for recreational or amateur gaming. For professional gamers, there’s still quite an imbalance. Most top-tier leagues are completely male-dominated, with few women breaking through the ranks. Perhaps the exclusivity of the sport, combined with the hours needed to put into playing and practice, make the pro leagues tough to crack.
In terms of age, the stereotype that only teenagers game is most certainly not true. Statistics show that the average age of male gamers hovers around 34, while female gamers come in even older at 36 years old on average. However, this statistic includes non-competitive games, such as mobile games and simple console games. In the top levels of professional games, players are usually in their twenties — though there have been outliers both much older and younger than one would expect.
That’s not to say that being an older player means you have fewer skills or gaming proficiency. On the contrary, older gamers are valued for their skills and hard-earned experience that many younger gamers lack.
As such, the reason why pro leagues are made up of younger players boils back down to the level of commitment needed. Competitions and tournaments require lots of time to practice, play, and compete, something that gets rarer and rarer as one ages and has more responsibilities.
3. How do professional E-sports tournaments work?
To start this section off, we first have to dismantle the preconceived notion many people have that E-sports are a small affair. With a global revenue amounting to almost 100 billion USD, it’s actually quite a wide and lucrative market. One thing that contributes to it is the big prize pools from the various tournaments, leagues, and competitions, which can see the winning teams taking home millions of dollars overnight. For instance, the 2019 PUBG Global Championship awarded over 2 million dollars in earnings to the winning team Gen.G.
That sounds like a lofty amount, but the real revenue-maker in E-sports is from licensing deals and sales. Big companies pay huge amounts of money to video game makers to feature their products in the virtual world, much like how movie companies are paid for product placements. So the next time you see a banner in FIFA or a coke bottle in The Last Of Us, you know those were not placed there without forethought.
At the actual event, you’ll see players from around the world. China, for instance, has over 2,000 professional players eagerly waiting to enter tournaments, second only to the US which has over 8,000 professional players. Other heavyweights are Sweden, South Korea, and Canada.
In terms of viewership, numbers show that roughly 70 million people tune in to E-sports. For comparison, that’s a similar number to other more conventional sports like basketball and tennis. How people tune in is by either going to watch competitions live or by using stream services with extremely quick internet connections. Needless to say, that’s needed to see the players’ moves live as they play.
Popular streaming services include YouTube’s Ultra HD support, as well as the most-used gaming stream service Twitch. It’s so accessible that you can literally tune in to an exciting E-sport final from anywhere in the world.
On top of that, the organizers of these events have solid plans for marketing and media coverage, helping to raise awareness of the games and encouraging more to tune in. With such high entertainment value, high stakes, and intense competition, it’s no wonder that people do warm up to E-sports quite easily.
To conclude, whether you’re a pro or an amateur player, as long as you join in on the fun, you belong to a community that is larger than many of us imagine. With new devices like tablets, consoles, phones, and PCs, the market will only get bigger — and if you’re good enough to turn pro, you stand a chance to take a slice of that in the professional E-sporting world.