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So You Wanna Get Into Esports? Here’s Where to Start.

At first it might seem obvious: you have an interest in gaming and esports, so you dive right in. Sure; makes sense. However, given the fact that the world of esports is massive and ever-growing, this might be overwhelming. Maybe your friends are really into gaming and you feel at a loss. Maybe you’re dating someone who’s really into gaming and you wanna understand what they’re so passionate about. Maybe you love playing video games, but when it comes to staying up to date with which streamers to keep up with and which tournaments are happening when, your head spins. Worry not: here’s a breakdown of some of the platforms that can serve as an entrypoint for you to dive into the world of esports without getting too overwhelmed. 

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Image Credit: Martin Kaye

One of the most important elements of participating in esports is figuring out what it is exactly that you’re into. What sort of games do you enjoy playing? More than just playing, what sort of games do you enjoy watching?  An article from MarketWatch offers some insight on the subject, noting that a key element of this for new gamers has to do with comprehension. Learning to play a new game and understanding the nuances of gameplay takes time. This also applies to watching other gamers stream. Ultimately, the first step to enjoying esports is understanding what is going on. Again, this is something that might seem obvious, but for a neophyte gamer, “MOBA” (multiplayer online battle arena) or “RTS” (real time strategies) games require some reading to bring you up to speed as to what’s really happening on the screen. Unless you’re a MOBA gamer, it might be confusing to follow at first and hard to stay engaged.

For this reason, if you’re at the early stages of your gaming journey, fighting games or sports games are a great way to start. It’s easy to understand what’s going on; in a fighting game, one player’s winning and one is losing and there are handy health bars and an eventual K.O. to let you know the outcome. In regards to esports, fighting games have a long history in terms of tournaments and competitions and even provide the set-up for some of the most legendary moments in esports history. The iconic “Daigo Parry” (which we wrote about here) happened at the Evolution Championship Series back in 2004. Evo, as the series is commonly called, is one of the—if not the—biggest fighting game competitions in the world. On the sports game side of things, the professional FIFA scene is continuing to grow and solidify with a restructuring of the FIFA Global Series.

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Image Courtesy of Magzter.com

Aside from playing the games and watching tournaments and competitions, streaming is one of the key elements of participating in the world of esports. Market Watch breaks down three of the main ways to stream esports content as being YouTube, Twitch, and MLG. Recently, however, Facebook has also gotten in on the esports boom, launching their own gaming feature. Beyond that, popular streamers are consistently generating gaming content that they share across social media.  Collaborations between game companies like Riot Games and Spotify make it so there’s original content like podcasts and soundtracks for games like Leagues of Legends that gamers can use during their own streams and fans can listen to on their own.

Platforms like Twitch and YouTube are designed to allow you to begin creating your own content as well, alongside new features that make it easier than ever to create and participate in tournaments and competitions. It isn’t hard to see how one can start as a new gamer and end up a streamer themselves in no time. 
Ultimately, the gaming industry exists as it does today because of the gamers who took their enthusiasm and industriousness and used it to allow for more participation. Combined with the rise of streaming as the natural development of the competition/viewership relationship, it becomes easy enough to understand that esports is all about participation. Whether it’s viewing and consuming content, creating content, or simply playing the games, what might seem overwhelming at first can truly become more welcoming than anything else.

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