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Pro Gaming for the Uninitiated

02 Jun Pro Gaming for the Uninitiated

It’s just a few weeks to go until one of the most-anticipated British sports events of the decade kicks off in Birmingham. The 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games is a special one indeed, not just because it celebrates the incredible 70 year reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II but, for the first time ever, eSports is on the agenda.  

“What’s eSports?”, we hear you ask. Keep reading to find out!  

The Early Days of Competitive Gaming  

Competitive gaming has existed in several forms for decades now. Video gaming tournaments in primitive formats first kicked off during the 1970s, but they were largely done on a local or national level and lacked any of the prestige of today’s competitions.  

The arrival of the internet had a dramatic impact on how gamers game, opening up new avenues for multi-player gaming online and introducing new gaming segments. Online casino gaming, for example, quickly became a global phenomenon, as operators transformed classic card and table games like blackjack into innovative digital variants. In 2022, it is estimated that there are over 600 million players accessing casinos online.

Meanwhile, multiplayer gaming took on a whole new form as players could suddenly connect and play against other people on the opposite side of the globe. This newfound connectivity in turn brought about the rise of MMORPG gaming – massively multiplayer online role-playing games – and spurred on the development of the eSports industry we know today.  

The eSports Ecosystem 

In 2022, eSports – which stands for electronic sports – is a global industry worth almost $3 billion. Within the ecosystem, there are major organisations, games development companies, gaming leagues and, of course, professional players. The advent of the industry has made it possible for gaming fanatics to develop careers as professional gamers – albeit with a lot of hard work.  

The world’s most successful players belong to top tier gaming organisations. Names like OG, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses and Team Spirit may not be the household names that the All Blacks, Real Madrid and other mainstream sports teams are, but in the world of eSports, these guys are rock stars. Individual players like Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein, meanwhile, have been able to earn upwards of $7 million competing in elite tournaments. 

There’s also another, crucial element of the ecosystem that continues to fuel its growth, year after year – the global audience. By the end of 2021, there ware a total of 465.1 million people tuning into eSports tournaments throughout the year, either occasionally or at least once a month  

eSports Games 

Of course, without video games themselves, there wouldn’t be any pro gaming full stop. Over the years, a handful of games have become absolute staples of the industry, having been and continuing to be played by everyone from casual gamers through to the best esports gamers.  

Such games include:  

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 

AKA CS: GO, this landmark title in the classic Counter-Strike series may date all the way back to 2012, but it’s no less popular in today’s gaming climate than it was back in the previous decade.  

This first-person shooter multiplayer game is played by two teams, Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists. Competing across different maps that require specific styles of play, each round of CS: GO is played as a best-of-30.  

Defense of the Ancients 2 

DotA 2 is a sequel to the landmark DotA game, but it has far out-performed its predecessors in terms of global popularity. An online multiplayer battle arena game like the original eSports game League of Legends, Defence of the Ancients 2 is played in a 5v5 team format.  

This game also holds the honour of being played for the world’s largest eSports prize. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, The International’s 2020 DotA2 tournament offered a grand total of $40,018.19 in prize money to competitors.  


From the stable of Activision Blizzard, Overwatch is something of a new kid on the block when it comes to eSports gaming, but it has proven to be incredibly popular on the pro circuit and amongst hobby gamers. 

A team-based hero shooter game, Overwatch is played by two teams of six players in any one game and is beloved for its huge roster of interesting characters.