An Introduction to eSports (Part 1)

What are eSports?

eSports, or professional competitive video gaming, has boomed in popularity in recent years. By 2020 there will be an estimated 589 million people watching eSports globally and the industry will be worth $1.48 billion. But what are eSports, and what do they mean for online safety?

There are currently five video game genres that are considered eSports: real-time strategy (RTS), fighting, first-person shooter (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), and online collectible card games. The following list has examples of some eSports games and explanations of their genres.

  • RTS games, such as StarCraft 2, have players use groups of characters or vehicles in order to manage resources and secure an area before engaging an opponent. They do this by using real-time strategies to be as efficient as possible.
  • Fighting games, such as Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros, are close combat melees where a single character is controlled by the player.
  • FPS games, such as Call of Duty or Counter Strike, are gun or weapon-based games where the user plays in the first-person perspective for a more realistic gameplay.
  • MOBAs, such as DoTA (Defense of the Ancients) 2 and League of Legends, are team-based battles where a player controls a single character and attempts to destroy the opposing team’s main structure with the help of their team and computer-controlled characters.
  • Online collectible card games like Hearthstone are similar to physical strategy-based collectible card games where a player customizes a deck of cards to challenge other players to a match, and all of the cards have specific abilities varying from summoning a monster, activating a spell, or providing a resource.

What does the growth of eSports mean for families?

The growth of eSports means there will be more children and teens interacting with video games whether through playing games themselves, watching live streams on streaming services or videos on YouTube, or attending conventions and local events. While eSports seem to be fundamentally different from traditional competitive sporting events such as football and soccer, there are many similarities between them. Both require fine motor skills and training to finetune said skills; they promote healthy competition and bring together fans of all ages to root on their favorite team. There are even international teams and fans, creating a bridge for American and international fans to connect with each other. Getting to know these games and genres is a great way to connect with your child’s interest and help them feel safe, just like introducing your child to your favorite sports team.

This post is the second in a series on eSports and video games. The first post can be read here!

Written by

Stephanie-Anne Alipio

Stephanie is a senior at American University studying Anthropology with a focus on sociocultural anthropology. She is a member and former F2017 secretary of the national co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and current member and secretary of AU^2, AU's first and only multicultural Asian-focus sorority interest group. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, CA, her favorite spots in DC are Philz Coffee in Admo and Qualia Coffee in Petworth.