As esports grew in size, it has accumulated a total of 454 million viewers and is expected to grow with 9 percent annual growth to 646 million by 2023. With a market value of 1.1 billion dollars, it is safe to say that esports has amassed a large number of players, especially in the young generation. Its growth can be attributed to the rise of streaming and the recent pandemic.
Streaming and gaming media have been the backbone of social media platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. Twitch was launched on June 11, 2011. In the same year, Twitch TV posted 8 million viewers. Because of this, games such as League of Legends (LoL), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO), and Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) took off. These 3 games have maintained their popularity since 2011. These games did not only fuel the esports scene but also contributed to the success of streamers and esports players such as Faker, Shroud, S1mple, and F0rest. Streamers mastered the art of social media and getting their content to the people. As they grew in popularity, they took the whole scene along with them.
Because of content revolving around esports games, a lot of kids and teenagers wanted to break into the esports scene especially here in the Philippines. They see esports as a way to get out of poverty and get rich, just like what Manny Pacquiao did with boxing. One good example was last January 25, the Philippine team Bren Esports defeated Burmese Ghouls, 4-3, in a best of seven thrillers in Singapore to win the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang World Championship. This showed kids in the Philippines that they can earn money and play the game they love at the same time.
Recently in an interview with Jericho Franco, a 16-year-old Filipino boy who was signed to play Call of Duty Mobile by Claxton Tourney Esports which earned him 170 Singaporean Dollars (Php 6k), he said that his family has not shown any support in his chosen career. The interviewer asked him what he thinks about people who say esports is not a sport. “People say esports is not a sport, but it is since it requires a lot of work and effort to execute a win against a really strong team. Another thing is that it requires a lot of teamwork,” he said.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic opened wider the doors for the continuous rise of esports and its significance to the entertainment and mental well-being of the younger and older generations alike. As much as it opened a door more appealing, let not the doors of knowledge, active lifestyle and value for human relationships close. After all, doors lead to opportunities.