By Sumitra Naidoo
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY News.
FIFA tournaments and virtual Grand Prix’s have been taking place as a means of overcoming lockdown restrictions. Players and drivers alike have been representing their teams whilst these tournaments have become immensely popular around the world as fans can watch their favourite players or teams once again.
The Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix saw Williams’ driver, George Russell, being crowned e-sports F1 champion on the 14th of June – two weeks before the opening race of the season. Similarly, the ePremier League tournaments saw Wolves player Diogo Jota and Leicester’s James Maddison being crowned champions of their respective invitationals that took place. Various sports turned to gaming during lockdown, so what does this entail for the e-sports community?
Firstly, more exposure for streamers who have been participating in e-sports for some time. Many streamers have recorded more engagement on their channels due to the fact that many people started discovering this whole new world as a result of people being limited in what they do during lockdown. Fans who enjoy specific sports have opted to follow gamers who play virtual versions of what they like while they wait for the sports industry to open up completely.
Additionally, more people have used gaming as a way to find a new hobby as well as interact with their friends virtually. They are able to keep up with each other, whilst also engaging in something to do together.
As a result of more online interaction, e-sport companies have capitalised on this by creating more tournaments with massive prize-pools. For example, NBA 2K hosted a tournament where players can participate for a prize-pool of $25,000. Additionally, gaming companies are also generating higher revenues due to in-game consumer spending.
Uniquely, this is also the first time in which we have seen sports and e-sports come together. For a while there has been some kind of conflict between the two worlds where people don’t give the deserving respect to gamers as it is seen as ‘easy’ or ‘not the real thing’. Additionally, the e-Sports world has been accused of copying the sports scene. However, more recently, sports professionals are mentioning how many hours they have to put in to practice on a game in order to participate in a tournament. They have also mentioned how much more respect they have for pro-gamers as they realise that just like normal athletes, these gamers have to practice for hours on end in order to be at the top.
Gaming provides people with a means to interact with others socially in the comfort of their own homes. The community is growing considerably as it can be a means to make some good money if you win tournaments. Additionally, people can monetise their streams on platforms such as Twitch – where others can donate money to your channel while you stream, thus providing an alternative if you don’t want to enter competitions. Best you hurry as the gaming world is getting saturated very quickly due to the increased popularity and e-Sports boom.