Esports: An Industry Ready To Break Loose

By Daniel Navarro, Staff Contributor

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Earlier this year, the World Health Organization recognized “video game addiction” as an official mental health disorder. Just recently, a Canadian law firm, “Calex Legal”, filed a class-action lawsuit against the Fortnite developers and Epic Games. They claim that the video game Fortnite is just as “addictive as crack”.

On the morning of October 13th over 5 million people gathered in preparation to watch the Fortnite map get demolished and the arrival of a new map. It was the beginning of a new chapter in Fortnite. The update with a new map never took place as Fortnite announced they had hit the end of the road and the game was over. The screen went black and people were in shock! Everyone was in total astonishment as questions began popping on social media in curiosity wondering when the game was going to return. This was the scene for 48 hours.

Sophomore Isaac Chin states, “It was really aggravating waiting for something so long and not knowing whether or not it would come back, I felt lost truthfully.” 

December 10th, 2018, the IHSA, Illinois High School Association, approved the formation of an advisory committee for Esports. A couple of weeks ago, Niles West staff, Katie Odell, released an online poll for students on whether or not if Niles West should have an Esports team and would people join it. It will be interesting to see if the growth of Esports in society trickles into the high school, and get as much recognition as the sports teams we currently have.

Sophomore Jack Bollinger says, “I would see a lot of great opportunities to get better and grind different games … and it would give me something to do when it isn’t golf season.”

Call of Duty, Overwatch, League of Legends, are among the many games that have been involved in competitive online gaming over the course of these past years. Fortnite has been a major topic of discussion on how well it would play into the competitive scene. As this game has broken many records since it’s release in the summer of July in 2017, there is still curiosity surrounding where this game will go, with over two billion dollars in revenue last year, and larger cash prizes to be earned in the future, it will be interesting to see what lies ahead for Fortnite.

Who would have ever thought that playing video games could make you money? On July 28th of this year that is exactly what happened to 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf. Giersdorf qualified for the Fortnite World Cup and won three million dollars after finishing in first place for the solo mode this summer in New York City. 

Fortnite held a World Cup that brought in an estimated 40 million competitors from many regions around the world, including Asia, Europe, Oceania (Australia), Brazil, North American West, and East to name a few.  Every player that placed in this tournament was guaranteed at least 50,000 dollars. That was an addition to any money they won from winnings at the tournament in New York. For some people this money wasn’t just about money, it was a beginning to their future in the world of professional gaming.

For Giesdorf, training 6 hours a day at minimum, hard work and dedication has paid off for the young man who aspires to make a living out of playing video games, along with the many other young gamers hopeful to do the same. 

Now begs the question of what is Esports? Esports is one of the fastest-growing industries out in the market currently. In 2016, they had over four hundred ninety-three million dollars in revenue with an approximate 14 percent annual year growth expected in 2021, according to Forbes. Just last year, over 258 million people from around the globe tuned in to view a wide variety of highly intensive competitive gamers going head to head for large cash prizes.

Although it may not seem like it to most, video gaming is slowly by surely taking over the world, as numbers are increasing, and more and more money is rolling in, it now begs the question, how far will video gaming go? And how long until it finally reaches its peak?