Where To Start?
I’m Brand New and Know Nothing About Esports
Parent of a gamer? Heard about people playing video games for money in passing or in an news article? A potential investor who is interested in learning what makes the younger generation so bonkers about Esports? If so, let’s dive in.
Why Do Esports Exist?
It’s important to know why Esports exist first, rather than to know where to start if you’d like to be a spectator of any games. Where there is the potential for competition there is a community of people who make it their livelihood to be the best. The sheer number of games, game types, and easy access to playing these games makes competition fierce. It’s no different than traditional sports, or activities such as poker tournaments or competitive chess. Just a different medium.
First: It’s difficult to find any traditional sport or activity that produces an organic sense of competition between two or more individuals more than a multiplayer video game. The playing field is level and there are little to no barriers of entry for anyone of any age to pick up a controller/mouse/keyboard and get started. The entire point of video games being created was to channel that inner competitiveness to beat the game, or in Esports’ case, the other players. To hit this point home, let’s take it back to the 1970’s for a moment to drive this point home. Pong. A straightforward game where the competitive premise couldn’t be any simpler. Games have gotten more complex but the core competitive aspect hasn’t changed.
Second: know and accept that people play video games for money. Lots of people for lots of money (any reputable tournaments minimum winning pot is $1 million). Sponsors and brands are growing exponentially as the audience continues to grow with the younger generations continuing to plug in and get connected. Esports are where the vast majority of the millennial and generation Z’s eyeballs are. The innovative brands are investing heavily in the space as they know this demographic doesn’t watch TV anymore and lives mostly online, specifically viewing live streaming. They know that this younger generation is smarter at discerning phony/spammy advertising. If it doesn’t speak to them and engage them in an impactful way, you may as well leave the space and try again in a few years in hopes they forgot.
Now that we’ve gotten the why’s out of the way, let’s discuss some suggested first steps on dipping your toes into the scene.
Learn What Games & Game Types Interest You
If you’re not an active gamer and have no intention to be, the best place to start is obviously here at Discover Esports, specifically the Esports section that breaks down in more detail the popular games, the game types, and an overview of the general scene.
Once you have a sense of familiarity of Esports in general, it’d be best to figure out which game type and games you’d be interested in watching. It’s important to know that most video games are created with the intention of engaging the gamer and some games are more complex than others with a steep learning curve. The Esports scene is still new and growing at a rate where many publishers (the companies and people who MAKE the game) are still trying to figure out the best way to engage the spectators as it’s quite a different angle than traditionally focusing on the player.
We’ll do our best to give you a path of least resistance to dig into what game types you may be more inclined to watch, and then introduce you to the best game to start watching, along with the best players and streaming services/videos to watch.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
Humans inherently are competitive and video games reach to the core of competition with the barrier to entry for any person to get started is little to none. Learn the Esports ecosystem at a 10,000 foot level and then figure out which game type and game is the best one to learn and start spectating.
I’m A Casual Gamer But Unfamiliar With Esports
Whether you’re a console gamer, a mobile gamer, or a PC gamer, you have many outlets to jump into to get a real sense of professional esports. There is definitely something for you to up your game by watching the best play, or learn about new games before jumping into buying/playing them.
Find Your Community
For those new to the specific Esports scene and have a general sense of what game play type or game interests you, it’s obviously best to start with what you’re comfortable with. There is a community for every game, both competitive and casual. A great first place to start for your popular games, or your niche mobile games, is reddit. The best way to check is typing into your browser: http://www.reddit.com/r/the-name-of-your-game-here. If that doesn’t show up, search reddit and it’s bound to come up.
The next best option is to check directly with the publisher of the game. Many of them have forums, slack channels, or specific areas of their website, or in the game itself, where you can find where the semi-pro and professional players linger.
Watch The Best Gamers Livestream
Watching people stream their game is the next best place to start. Hundreds of thousands of gamers are streaming themselves play their respective games. Many have built massive communities of fans and spectators who tune in to be entertained, learn how to play the game better for themselves, and feel a sense of pride knowing that there are many others who share the same passions as them. Gaming brings people together, and Esports brings that healthy sense of competition and sportsmanship to the table.
All professional gamers started as casual gamers; it’s important to know that. Much like every athlete started at square one and had to put in their 10,000+ hours to get to the expert level. There is absolutely no difference here. In fact, it can be argued that gamers put in more time than traditional athletes as most athletes have a physical cap in energy in a given day, while professional gamers log on average 15+ hour days of practice, 7 days a week. Steph Curry is the best shooter that may have ever played basketball, but I doubt he can shoot 3’s for 15 hours straight, 7 days a week (Steph, if you’re reading this and you can actually accomplish this feat, email us and we’ll personally apologize…and ask for tickets to a game. 🙂 )
Find Tournaments (Local If Possible)
The best way to take your game to the next level, or dive into the Esports ecosystem further is by watching the best compete against the best. Grassroots tournaments crop up all the time by passionate supporters. Many of the games publishers also host tournaments online or in real life to help strengthen their brand and use it as marketing to garner new gamers.
A great place to check out all tournaments:
Battlefy – Find and organize tournaments, both online and in person.
Toornament – List of the most popular tournaments dates, times, locations, places to watch.
GosuGamers – Current and list of historic tournaments, results, and replays.
Organizers Collection (Esports Stack) – List of major tournament organizers
Experience New Esports Games
The future is going to be filled with agnostic game viewers. Much like if you were to walk into a sports bar at any given moment, you’d be able to name every different sport being played on each TV. You may not know the intricate rules and details, but you’d at least understand the premise. That is where Esports is heading.
If you want to stay in the same Game type, there are usually at least 2 to 3 titles that have an avid competitive community. Dive into them, whether it’s playing, or watching the best live streamers.
It’s encouraged you jump into a different space entirely to gain a newfound respect for other types of gamers. The difference between a professional Counter Strike player and a League of Legends player is fairly vast. You can learn the high level premise and dig into the details here at Discover Esports if you jump into our games section.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
Find where your community lives for the game(s) you play. Watch the best players in your given game(s). Follow tournaments online, or find them locally and play/meet your fellow gamers. Learn the different game types and the different games and start following their competitive scene and watching the live tournaments of their professionals.
Suggested Reading: Why Would I Watch Esports?