Esports has grown to become one of the most lucrative industries today - Its global market size is estimated to be $906 million and is expected to go as high as $1.65 billion by the year 2020. As such, eSports is no longer a leisure activity. Various teams complete professionally every year, both small and big, where they challenge each other in tournaments; after which esports champions are named.
Additionally, several large companies get involved in these gaming events - video game developers such as Epic Games, Valve among others host global tournaments. Brands like Electronic Sports League (ESL) have actually based their entire business on this industry, making eSports too big to ignore.
Just like most other industries, eSports has a colorful history. The very first official video game contest took place in October 1972 at Stanford University's Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics event. Students were invited to participate in the Spacewar game, whose top prize was a one-year subscription of Rolling Stone, an American magazine that focuses on popular culture.
This particular event prepared a pathway for video game tournaments. In 1980, these tourneys aired on TV, when Atari sponsored the Space Invaders Championship. The event attracted well over 10,000 participants, bringing the sport into the limelight.
Since then, the sport became a way of life. The other key events held were sponsored by Walter Day via an organization known as Twin Galaxies that took place in the summer of 1981. This particular company preserved high score records - it assisted in promoting and publicizing various video records in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1983, the U.S National Game Team was founded, which mainly sponsored various tournaments.
With the increase in internet connectivity in the 1990s, PC esports games gained more popularity. Games such as Netrek came to birth, which was played in teams. This game was the first to make use of meta-servers and provide user data; it won 'the first online sports game' award.
Today, you'll find countless teams that take part in different tourneys, where eSports champions take home the top prize. When you think of the best teams, some names immediately pop up in your head. Listed below are the esports champions you'll find on the online gaming charts, representing the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Russia and more.