When people discussed the concept of virtual sports fifteen years ago, the idea they could rival regular sports was deemed laughable.
Even though the concept of esports is not that new, as people have played video games competitively for a long time, no one felt that virtual sports had a chance to compete with games like soccer, tennis, basketball, American football, and golf.
While esports is still not on the same level of popularity worldwide as regular sports, it is rising at a staggering rate. Any virtual sports guide you read will mention how the numbers are growing exponentially for esports in terms of the viewers they attract for competitions.
Many experts believe that within 10 or 20 years, there will be virtual sports events that get viewing numbers better than some mainstream sports.
Below are five reasons why virtual sports are so popular.
Most top-level sports competitions are behind paywalls, especially if you want to catch every game. Not only do you have to subscribe to a cable or streaming TV service, but you may need an extra subscription to another package to catch games that are not telecast live on main channels.
Such issues are not present with esports. Between platforms such as Facebook Gaming, Twitch, and YouTube, there are many websites where you can watch live streams of esports events. Most of these events are free, while viewers can even post comments in the live chat to interact with other people tuning in to see the action.
In the United States, millions of people around the world tune in to watch sports games every week, with billions watching globally. However, not many of those people would even have a similar skill level to the players they are watching. They may not even regularly play the games they view on television.
Esports is very different in that respect. While the athletes who compete in virtual sports competitions are the very best, their skill level is not astronomically superior to regular gamers who are passionate about a specific genre or game.
As such, esports can be seen as more relatable to the audience, as they can understand the feeling of playing a video game in an online competition against other players.
Esports is truly engrossing, especially if you are familiar with the game that is being played. Whether the event in question is for a sports game like FIFA or a first-person shooter like Counter-Strike, there are so many tactics and tricks players can use to gain an advantage over their rivals.
While sports can often be about athletic superiority, the mental side of competition is a lot more important in esports. Athletes have to use their brains as much as the quickness of their fingers and arms.
A common complaint in some top-level sports is that everyone knows who is going to win a particular tournament or event. While sports can have dramatic upsets, they are few and far between. In most cases, the teams with the best talent win competitions. Esports, however, are a lot more unpredictable. The same esports athletes rarely win a particular tournament several years in a row.
Fans can also root for different people each time a tournament takes place. Since most tournaments require qualification, some players may not even make it to the main event every year. Such diversity of competition can make virtual sports competitions more fun to watch.
5. Variety of Games
Another reason virtual sports have risen to such great popularity in the past decade is because of the variety of games that have created competitive leagues. Whether you enjoy playing sports video games, first-person shooters, adventure titles, car racing games, or other genres, you can find at least one game that has an esports competition.
When people follow sports, they usually enjoy watching such competitions. If you are excited about virtual sports, you do not necessarily need to enjoy regular sports. As a result, esports can attract even more of an audience compared to regular sports, especially among the younger generation.