The History of Video Games and Esports

 
     
 
Despite its humble beginnings as early as the 1950s, gaming may seem like a relatively new phenomenon to mainstream entertainment. However, it has now become a multi-billion dollar industry with esports holding its own niche market in both sports fans and gamers alike.

It all started out back in the 1950s with Tennis for Two offering a competitive game for 2 players. In the 1960s the game Pong also came into existence. These 2 games had astounded audiences, despite being now considered very simple games, with both consisting of a pixelated ball bouncing across the screen with tennis-like rules.

In 1962, the space combat game Spacewar! broke into the scene and became extremely popular amongst the programming community, showing up on early computers with monitors (even ones made specifically for engineering and research), which led to it becoming one of the first coin-operated games. Later in the 1970s, Space Invaders would continue the space trend in gaming, and became a household name as one of the earliest shooting games. The game laid groundwork in both casual and competitive gaming, with more than 10,000 entrants competing against one another in a massive tournament.

WIth shooter Space Invaders and the first game to have a narrative Donkey Kong, 1981 was a key year in the era of commercial gaming. It was at this time as well that the world-record gaming organization called Twin Galaxies was formed, functioning as a national scoreboard for arcade games.

The gaming industry began heating up even more in the 1990s with console games of a competitive nature like Super Street Fighter II being introduced on the SNEs and PC games such as Doom hitting the market. Starcraft and Quake also pushed the world of esports forward at this time.

In 1999, Unreal Tournament and Counter-Strike were introduced with Counter-Strike becoming one of the most popular games in eSports history. The 2000s saw the boom of esports with online multiplayer expanding and new services online connecting players from around the world. Some of the games that emerged during this time include Fnatic, TSM, Team Dignitas, Optic Gaming and SK Telecom.

Since 2010, eSports has taken on a pulse of its own. League of Legends currently has about 100 million players while newcomer Fortnite already has over 125 million active users, with prize pools for eSports tournaments as high as $4 million.

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