A crowd watches an eSports competition. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Harvard-Westlake High School

Opinion: The growing phenomenon of esports

When most parents see or hear about video games, they can only react with disgust.

“Video games are only a waste of time for children as they slowly kill the eyes that are glued to the screen in front of them,” is what many parents say.

Yet despite the numerous aspects of video gaming that are potentially detrimental to the human body, they have continued to exponentially evolve. One of the biggest examples being a new culture surrounding video games called esports, which is rapidly growing and gaining traction.

Becoming a professional in video games and earning money for it is no longer just a pipe dream. In fact, one 16-year-old was able to win $3 million just from one Fortnite tournament in 2019, according to USA Today.

The world of esports continues to grow as both the number of professionals and fans increase. More people watched the 2016 World Finals of a popular video game, League of Legends, than Game 7 of the NBA finals the same year, according to Kotaku. Especially since nowadays many people are at home in quarantine, more people are going to have a lot more free time.

But just like in regular sports such as basketball, esports social culture grows not only among the players but also among fans. Similar to basketball there are professional teams involved in esports, and along with those teams come passionate fans.

These fans wearing the jerseys of professional video game players surge stadiums by the thousands just to watch people who play their favorite video games. Of course, nowadays this social event is no longer possible, but the beauty of esports, when compared to other sports, is that it is just as compatible online, allowing fans to continue to enjoy their gameplay from home.

Not only has COVID-19 not affected esports but in some ways, it has significantly helped esports grow to new heights. In just March alone, the popular streaming platform known as Twitch had an increase of 23% in viewership.

Even though many aspects of life were dismantled by COVID-19, it seems as if esports will only continue to grow.