Esports, in general, have seen a constant rise in popularity over the past decade or so. With the likes of the Call of Duty World League and the League of Legends World Championship, the eSports industry have been absolutely huge. All over the world, new teams are showing up and training hard in order to get to the top of their respective game’s rankings.

However, over here in the UK, the rise of eSports has been somewhat slower than in the States or Asia. We’re now starting to see a glimmer of hope that the eSports industry will reach the same pinnacle of popularity and entertainment as the rest of the world, but it has taken a long time to get here.

What Is eSport?

Whenever I talk about eSports to people outside of the gaming world, the most common reaction is a look of sheer confusion. This is usually followed them asking me what is esports and why should they be interested in it? So, both to help paint a background picture for this post, as well as giving me something I can just point those people to when they ask, I thought I’d give a very brief explanation.

The term eSports refers to the professional (or semi-professional) act of playing video games in a competitive environment. Typically, it involves games that require a very high amount of skill and exceedingly fast reaction times in order for you to be successful. Training is also a must, improving your knowledge and reaction time with each play of the game.

Teams from around the world become close-knit friends and allies, all working and striving towards the same goal; championship victory.

The tournaments themselves are often very large events, drawing huge crowds similar to the levels of more traditional sports. Prize money is also usually extremely large sums of money too! The events are fast-paced, exciting and adrenaline-fueled experiences with live commentary and heated matches.

The UK eSports Scene

There have been a few eSports events over here in the UK in the past few years, including one in Peterborough of all places. However, it really didn’t get to the same levels as you would expect from any of the eSports events in the States. At least, it didn’t until recently.

Last month (September 2018) saw the very first time that an eSports event in the UK was recognised enough to be in a truly world-famous arena. Specifically, the FACEIT London Major for Counterstrike: Global Offensive was held at the one and only Wembley Arena! It lasted 3 days in total, from the 20th to the 23rd of September, meaning that one of the biggest and most recognised stadiums in the United Kingdom was reserved for 3 days for an eSports tournament. That is absolutely crazy!

The FACEIT London Major was eventually won by the team of Astralis, who won a shared prize pool of $1,000,000! But that’s not really what I wanted to focus on.

For me, as a Brit, one of the biggest achievements about FACEIT London was that there were a number of UK eSports professional who qualified and get really far in the competition. This, as well as the fact that it was held in Wembley, is brilliant news for the UK eSports scenes. I would like to think that it means that eSports are getting more recognition and acceptance over here in the UK.

And That’s All Folks

With the fact that eSports seem to be more recognised as actual sporting events more in the United Kingdom now, I am really hoping that we get to see more amazing tournaments in the future. As many of them are live streamed as well, I’ll go into the best ways to watch eSports in a future post, but for now, I just wanted to share how happy I am that the eSports industry is starting to make waves over here too.

Have you attended an eSports event? Would you want to? Let me know in the comments below!