Presented by: Atlas & Justin Lee

Press Start: An Esports Documentary goes over the history, present, and future of the world's next big thing. This is our first attempt at a documentary formatted video, but we hope you enjoy it anyways! This project was in collaboration with my partner, Justin Lee. You can find his socials alongside mine.

Press Start: An Esports Documentary

These students at E. W. Clark High School in Las Vegas, Nevada have gathered together to play the popular fighting game Super Smash Brothers Melee although this particular meeting may look small they're actually part of a much larger group the eSports community.

We end tonight in a virtual World of Sports video gaming is gone professional and the rising stars of the eSports boom are making real money (CBS News).

  • - First of all explain how you can make a profession out of this how do they actually get paid? ( Sky NEWS).
  • - So okay, obviously, there are different prize points for different games and they vary in size.


Electronic sports or eSports for short are a form of competition in video games players or teams go at each other in a variety of different games ranging from first and third person shooters to fighting games all the way to online battle arenas and those skills sometimes took these games to the competitive level competing at high stakes tournaments such as Dreamhack, Intel Extreme Masters and Evo with a chance to win cash, glory, fame and possibly women.

The history of these Sports can be traced all the way back to the basic arcades the first major video game competition was held in 1980 called “The national space invaders tournament”. 10.000 people attended and established competitive gaming as a potential mainstream force.

Later in 1991 Street Fighter 2 was released to arcades bringing a new generation of people back in to compete against one another while previous competitions focused on who could hit the highest score Street Fighter took a different approach focusing on direct one-on-one combat versus another player with the winner being whoever outplayed their opponent in the last match.

In the late 90s computer games such as Warcraft and Quake again gained popularity finally people were able to play others without having to leave their own living rooms using the power of the internet.
And as the quality of Internet improved so did the growth of eSports as a whole the birth of what we now know as the modern eSport began in South Korea after the asian financial crisis in 1997 broadband internet networks were built across the country which gave birth to PC bangs gaming hangouts filled with high-powered PCS granting a good portion of the population access to good connections and capable machines.
And what seems like an internet gaming boom online competitions were shaped to be one of the early starts of today's competitive championships with opportunities to be crowned best in the world on the line. Soon after Korean television stations began to broadcast video games with the first title being Starcraft 2 took up a majority of the airtime skilled Starcraft players quickly grew into celebrities with top personalities and players being treated just like the top athletes.

The real game is now

- Sometimes on the street, people recognize me. It feels good when that happens. It makes me want to work harder and become more famous so that more people will know me.

Despite this the craze was mostly contained in Korea with the rest of the world watching from the sidelines.
When the popular broadcasting service launched in 2011 everything changed suddenly just like those Korean TV stations anyone could stream games and get just as popular, shortly after multiplayer online battle arena games or MOBAs gained immense traction and popularity on Twitch and around the world.

But ask any of the kids here why they play and the answer they give is simple.

  • - It's pretty fun it's kind of hard though.
  • - I just like playing it's cool.
  • - It's fun like playing basketball and you can punch each other.

The inclusivity of eSports makes them appealing to all kinds of people in the arcades anyone with a quarter can play against anyone else now anyone with a computer or gaming console can pick up a game and play with people all across the world as technology continues to advance with both internet speeds and computer hardware growing faster eSports will grow alongside with it modern game developers strive to make their titles eSports ready balancing their games around being played at the highest competitive level and including robust spectator modes having good netcode is a necessity for the success of any competitive game something gamers in the 80s could have never imagined.
The market for eSports is primarily younger people ranging from 10 to 30 years old and is a market that is constantly evolving people consume less media from the television and more online streaming services such as YouTube Netflix and Twitch. Live streaming has stuck its way in as a key part of gaming culture viewers can directly interact with streamers through text chat and can donate to them through the platform as well.
These types of interactions are not possible at the television making livestreams the preferred form of media for gamers. Even when events are broadcasted on TV many opt for viewing the event on their computer or phones and set, there they can interact with other fans of the game rewind and pause easily carry it with them wherever there is Wi-Fi.

Top players have the potential to make six figures in their career ($96 million 701 Tournament Dota2, $38 million 1,837 Tournaments League Of Legends, CS:GO $31 million 2,223 Tournaments), between sponsorship, salaries live stream donations and tournament winnings the culture as a whole is incredibly player focused with the right type of player being able to influence so everyone else plays the game coming up with new strategies and techniques for others to learn from and copy.

- Playing against each other all day we don't have to worry about any streams we don't have to worry about any any videos like this is the roots of like competitive gaming right here just trying to just trying to get better before the biggest tournament of the year so I'm excited.

Esports training is often vigorous professionals often practice more than 40 hours a week around the time of a full-time job in addition to practicing they travel to events market themselves as personalities figure out new ways to beat their opponents.

Gaming houses are houses were a certain team resides so they are always in close proximity of one another practicing, many have taken advantage of this live streaming their practice sessions making more money in the process.

-I'm overwhelmed with emotion right now like it's amazing so I don't we just finished Evolution and every year it blows my mind that it that it keeps happening every year and it keeps getting bigger like this and just what happened this year was just the most amazing thing. I can't like it's it's feels like a dream to me right now. I feel like I'm gonna like wake up at any point in time (- James Chen).

Evolution or Evo for short is the largest fighting game tournament in the world hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada the tournament attracts thousands of entrants and hundreds of thousands of viewers broadcasted on large channels such as ESPN and Disney.

- You had a quarter and you put the quarter up you are allowed to play with everybody else and that really also led to the large diversity that we have here because you know at an arcade there was no there was I mean, I don't want to call it discrimination but there was no discrimination like you walked up with a quarter you put it down and you're gonna play a we've already gone through one whole day of fighting games, this is day number two already and we've had like this is where thousands and thousands of people show up from around the world, we have like over 80 countries represented here well like I just look around right now and I just see people everywhere and all of us are here for the same reason because we love these video games.
We love these fighting games, you know people plan their one vacation of the year to come to Evo because that's how big this is and so when you come here and you get to hang out and be with all these people that share the same hobby and then once we get to Sunday and we're all in the stadium and we're all watching and everyone's cheering at the same time for the for for the same, everyone's watching the same thing and we're all so excited like it's just, it's a feeling that you just you just don't get anywhere else, you know, there's a there's an inside joke I get very emotional at evo's all the time and that there's a reason for that.
There's a very it's not like I'm playing it up or anything like I legit get very emotional at these events because that's how much it means to me (- James Chen).

With just one glance you can understand why the CEO of Allied eSports Judd Hannigan is a proud guy you're looking at the first ever permanent eSports Arena on the strip. It's gonna host some of the biggest eSports tournaments in the world with prize money in the tens of thousands.

  • - Now with this obviously being the first comes the reward but also some risk.
  • - There's inherent risk in just about anything that's so new like this there's not a lot of history in many ways we're blazing that path.

Tomorrow is already here

The Luxor was big gamble on the thirty thousand-square-foot arena is the strongest evidence the lure of eSports is too much to ignore.

The eSports arena in Las Vegas recently opened in March of 2018 bringing a new type of gaming to the city of sin located on the famous Las Vegas strip with a facility hopes to achieve was previously unprecedented. Although the business first began in Los Angeles the growth of Vegas and it's already existing status as the entertainment capital of the world made it an appeal and spot to open. It marks a growing change in competitive video games being held in whatever cheap venue you would be willing to host them into a powerhouse with entire businesses.

The future of eSports is looking very bright a new genre of shooters battle orioles featuring 100 players and a hunger games esque arena in a fight for their lives has risen in popularity as recent with a Las Vegas charity event based on the genre amounting to over $100,000 being donated to Suicide Prevention. The industry is estimated by many to reach a worth of two billion dollars by 2020 game developers are beginning to learn how to craft their products towards their audience and many schools have begun teaching about competitive game design the Overwatch League hosted by blizzard is a league structured similar to that of actual sports pulling players from the same cities in order to represent their region at the highest levels of play.

Esports is rapidly becoming a billion dollar industry with big names such as Red Bull and Shaquille O'Neal pumping money into the scene as well as technology brands such as Razer and Logitech heavily marketing their products towards these competitive gamers.
The Venture onto new platforms has proved to be interesting for eSports the popular collectible card game Hearthstone is available on mobile and titles such as Clash Royale I've seen recent success virtual reality looks to be promising with shooters already having been developed for the game. However, VR eSports is still aways out from being mainstream let alone included in tournaments.

Esports has come a long way since the days of old arcades from a Space Invaders tournaments in the 80s to the growth of the internet and computer gaming in the 90s all the way to million dollar production events today, eSports still shows no sign of slowing down now and we're just getting started every tournament open to the public has more and more newcomers to the scene giving those watching from afar an optimistic hope that the talent for gaming will continue to grow and grow. Who knows eSports soon might become America's new favorite pastime.

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