Esports (also known as eSports, e-sports, competitive gaming, electronic sports, or progaming in Korea) is a term for organized multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players. The most common video game genres associated with electronic sports are real-time strategy, fighting, first-person shooter, and multiplayer online battle arena. Tournaments such as The International Dota 2 Championships, the League of Legends World Championship, the Battle.net World Championship Series, the Evolution Championship Series, the Intel Extreme Masters, provide both live broadcasts of the competition, and cash prizes to competitors.
Although organized competitions have long been a part of video game culture, competitions have seen a large surge in popularity from the late 2000s and early 2010s. While competitions around 2000 were largely between amateurs, the proliferation of professional competitions and growing viewership now supports a significant number of professional players and teams, and many video game developers now build features into their games designed to facilitate such competition.
The genre of fighting games and arcade fighters have also been popular in amateur tournaments, although the fighting game community has often distanced themselves from the eSports label. In 2012, the most popular titles featured in professional competition were the multiplayer online battle arena games Dota 2, League of Legends, and the real time strategygame StarCraft II. Shooting games like Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2,and Call of Duty have enjoyed some success as eSports, although their viewer numbers have remained below those of their competitors.
Geographically, eSports competitions have their roots in Germany (2015) developed countries. South Korea has the best established eSports organizations, officially licensing pro-gamers since the year 2000.Official recognition of eSports competitions outside South Korea has come somewhat slower. In 2013, Canadian League of Legends player Danny “Shiphtur” Le became the first pro-gamer to receive a United States P-1A visa, a category designated for “Internationally Recognized Athletes”. Along with South Korea, most competitions take place in Europe, North America and China. Despite its large video game market, eSports in Japan is relatively underdeveloped, which has been attributed largely to its broad anti-gambling laws. In 2014, the largest independent eSports brand, Electronic Sports League, partnered with the local eSports brand Japan Competitive Gaming to try and grow eSports in the country.
In 2013, it was estimated that approximately 71,500,000 people worldwide watched competitive gaming. The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms, particularly Twitch.tv, has become central to the growth and promotion of eSports competitions.Demographically, Major League Gaming has reported viewership that is approximately 85% male and 15% female, with 60% of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34. Related this appreciable male majority, female gamers within the industry are subject to significant sexism and negative stereotypes.Despite this, some women within eSports are hopeful about the general progress in overcoming these problems.