Electronic sports (also known as eSports or competitive gaming) is a term for organized multiplayer video game competitions. The most common video game genres associated with electronic sports are real-time strategy, fighting, first-person shooter, and multiplayer online battle arena. Tournaments such as the League of Legends World Championship, The International, the Battle.net World Championship Series, the Evolution Championship Series, and the Intel Extreme Masters provide both live broadcasts of the competition, and cash prizes to competitors.
Although e-sports have long been a part of video game culture, competitions have seen a large surge in popularity from the late 2000's and early 2010's. While competitions around 2000 were largely between amateurs, the proliferation of professional competitions and growing viewership now supports a significant number of professional players and teams, and many video game developers now build features into their games designed to facilitate such competition.
The increasing availability of online video streaming platforms, particularly Twitch, has become central to current eSports competitions. In 2014, sports broadcaster ESPN broadcast the The International finals, marking the first time an eSports event had been simultaneously broadcast on a mainstream channel.
Historically, fighting games and arcade fighters like Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Super Smash Bros. have been popular in amateur tournaments, although the fighting game community has often distanced themselves from the eSports label. In 2012, the most popular titles featured in professional competition were real time strategy and multiplayer online battle arena games Dota 2, League of Legends, and StarCraft II. Shooting games like Counter Strike and Call of Duty have enjoyed some success as eSports, although their viewer numbers have remained below those of their competitors.
- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 Titles
- 4 Video game design
- 5 Tournaments
- 6 Teams and associations
- 7 Media coverage
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Geographically, eSports competitions have their roots in developed countries.[original research?] South Korea has the best established eSports organizations, officially licensing pro-gamers since the year 2000. Official recognition of eSports competitions outside South Korea has come somewhat slower. In 2013, Canadian League of Legends player Danny "Shiphtur" Le became the first pro-gamer to receive a United States P-1A visa, a category designated for "Internationally Recognized Athletes". Along with South Korea, most competitions take place in Europe, North America, Australia and China. Despite its large video game market, eSports in Japan is relatively underdeveloped, which has been attributed largely to its broad anti-gambling laws. In 2014, the largest independent eSports brand, ESL, partnered with the local eSports brand Japan Competitive Gaming to try and grow eSports in the country.
In 2013, it was estimated that approximately 71,500,000 people watched competitive gaming. Demographically, Major League Gaming has reported viewership that is approximately 85% male and 15% female, with 60% of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34. Related this appreciable male majority, female gamers within the industry are subject to significant sexism and negative stereotypes. Despite this, some women within eSports are hopeful about the general progress in overcoming these problems.
Labelling video games as "sports" is somewhat controversial. While some point to the growth in popularity of eSports as justification for designating some games as sports, others contend that video games will never reach the status of "true sports". In a 2014 interview, when asked about the recent buyout of popular game streaming service Twitch, ESPN president John Skipper described eSports as "not a sport - [they're] a competition." In addition, many in the fighting games community maintain a distinction between their competitive gaming competitions and the more commercially connected eSports competitions of other genres.
Early history (1972–1989)
The earliest known video game competition took place on October 19, 1972, at Stanford University for the game Spacewar, where students were invited to an "Intergalactic spacewar olympics" whose grand prize was a year's subscription for Rolling Stone. The Space Invaders Championship held by Atari in 1980 was the earliest large scale video game competition, attracting more than 10,000 participants across the United States.
In the summer of 1981, Walter Day founded a high score record keeping organization called Twin Galaxies. The organization went on to help promote video games and publicize its records through publications such as the Guinness Book of World Records, and in 1983 it created the U.S. National Video Game Team. The team was involved in competitions, such as running the Video Game Masters Tournament for Guinness World Records and sponsoring the North American Video Game Challenge tournament.
During the 1970s and 1980s, electronic sports players and tournaments begun being featured in popular newspapers and magazines including Life and Time. One of the most well known classic arcade game players is Billy Mitchell, for his listing as holding the records for high scores in six games including Pac-Man and Donkey Kong in the 1985 issue of the Guinness Book of World Records. Televised eSports events aired during this period included the American show Starcade which ran between 1982 and 1984 airing a total of 133 episodes, on which contestants would attempt to beat each other's high scores on an arcade game. A video game tournament was included as part of TV show That's Incredible!, and tournaments were also featured as part of the plot of various films, including 1982's Tron.
Esports goes online (1990–1999)
In the 1990s, many games benefited from increasing internet connectivity, especially PC games. For example, the 1988 game Netrek was an Internet game for up to 16 players, written almost entirely in cross-platform open source software. Netrek was the third Internet game, the first Internet team game, the first Internet game to use metaservers to locate open game servers, and the first to have persistent user information. In 1993 it was credited by Wired Magazine as "the first online sports game".
Large eSports tournaments in the 1990s include the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, which toured across the United States, and held its finals at Universal Studios Hollywood in California. Nintendo held a 2nd World Championships in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System called the Nintendo PowerFest '94. There were 132 finalists that played in the finals in San Diego, CA. Mike Iarossi took home 1st prize. Blockbuster Video also ran their own World Game Championships in the early 1990s, co-hosted by GamePro magazine. Citizens from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Chile were eligible to compete. Games from the 1994 championships included NBA Jam and Virtua Racing.
Television shows featuring eSports during this period included the British shows GamesMaster and Bad Influence! the Australian gameshow A*mazing, which would show two children competing in various Nintendo games in order to win points.
Rise of global tournaments (2000 onwards)
Recently, eSports has gone through tremendous growth, incurring a large increase in both viewership and prize money. Although large tournaments were founded before the 21st century, the number and scope of tournaments has increased significantly, going from about 10 tournaments in 2000 to about 260 in 2010. Many of the largest tournaments today were founded during this period, including the World Cyber Games, the Intel Extreme Masters, and Major League Gaming. The proliferation of tournaments included experimentation with competitions outside traditional eSports genres. For example, the September 2006 FUN Technologies Worldwide Webgames Championship featured 71 contestants competing in casual games for a $1 million grand prize.
This period was also the peak of televised esports. Television coverage was best established in South Korea, with competitions featuring StarCraft and Warcraft III regularly televised by dedicated 24-hour cable TV game channels Ongamenet and MBCGame. Elsewhere, eSports television coverage was sporadic. The German GIGA Television covered eSports until its shutdown in 2009. The UK satellite television channel XLEAGUE.TV broadcast eSports competitions from 2007 to 2009. The online esports only channel ESL TV briefly attempted a paid television model re-branded GIGA II from June 2006 to autumn 2007. The French channel Game One broadcast e-sport matches in a show called "Arena Online" for the Xfire Trophy. The United States channel ESPN hosted Madden NFL competitions in a show called Madden Nation from 2005 to 2008. DirecTV broadcast the Championship Gaming Series tournament for 2 seasons in 2007 and 2008. CBS aired prerecorded footage of the 2007 World Series of Video Games tournament that was held in Louisville, Kentucky. The G4 television channel originally covered video games exclusively, but broadened its scope to cover technology and men's lifestyle, though has now shutdown.
The popularity and emergence of online streaming services have helped the growth of eSports in this period, and are the most common method of watching tournaments. Twitch, an online streaming platform launched in 2011, routinely streams popular eSports competitions. In 2013, viewers of the platform watched 12 billion minutes of video on the service, with the two most popular Twitch broadcasters being League of Legends and Dota 2. During one day of The International, Twitch recorded 4.5 million unique views, with each view watching for an average of 2 hours.
The modern eSports boom has also seen a rise in video games companies embracing the eSports potential of their products, In 2014, Nintendo hosted an invitational Super Smash Bros. 4 competitive tournament in lieu of their traditional Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) press conference. It was additionally streamed online. Halo developers 343 Industries announced in 2014 plans to turn Halo into an esport with the creation of their own dedicated Halo league and a prize pool of 50,000$ USD. Both Blizzard Entertainment and Riot Games have their own collegiate outreach programs, aimed at cultivating new eSports talent at the university and college level. Recently, universities and colleges throughout the United States such as Robert Morris University and the University of Pikeville have recognized electronic sports players as varsity level athletes and have begun offering scholarships to encourage competitive competition.
Physical viewership of eSports competitions and the scope of events have increased in tandem with the growth of online viewership. The Season 3 League of Legends World Championship, held in 2013, was held in a sold-out Staples Center. Its successor, the 2014 League of Legends World Championship in Seoul, South Korea had over 40,000 fans in attendance and featured musical talent, and opening and closing ceremonies in addition to the competition.
A number of games support professional competition. The tournaments which emerged in the mid 1990s coincided with the popularity of fighting games and first-person shooters, genres which still maintain a devoted fan base. In the 2000s, real-time strategy games became overwhelmingly popular in South Korean internet cafés, with crucial influence on the development of eSports worldwide. By 2010, multiplayer online battle arena games had become very popular as esports. Competitions exist for many titles and genres, though currently the most popular games are League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and StarCraft II. Hearthstone has also popularized the digital CCG genre in the electronic sports community since its release in 2014.
Video game design
While it is common for video games to be designed with the experience of the player in game being the only priority, many successful eSports games have been designed to be played professionally from the beginning. Developers may decide to add dedicated eSports features, or even make design compromises to support high level competition. Games such as Starcraft II, League of Legends, and Dota 2 have all been designed, at least in part, to support professional competition.
In addition to allowing players to participate in a given game, many game developers have added dedicated observing features for the benefit of spectators. This can range from simply allowing players to watch the game unfold from the competing player's point of view, to a highly modified interface that gives spectators access to information even the players may not have. The state of the game viewed through this mode may tend to be delayed by a certain amount of time in order to prevent either teams in a game from gaining a competitive advantage. The practice of using a stream to achieve an unfair advantage is commonly called "ghosting". Games with these features include Call of Duty, Starcraft II, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike.
A very common method for connection is the Internet. Game servers are often separated by region, but high quality connections allow players to set up real-time connections across the world. Downsides to online connections include increased difficulty detecting cheating compared to physical events, and greater network latency, which can negatively impact players' performance, especially at high levels of competition. Many competitions take place online, especially for smaller tournaments and exhibition games.
Since the 1990s, professional teams or organized clans have set up matches via Internet Relay Chat networks such as QuakeNet. As eSports has developed, it has also become common for players to use automated matchmaking clients built into the games themselves. This was popularized by the 1996 release of Blizzard's Battle.net, which has been integrated into both the Warcraft and StarCraft series. Automated matchmaking has become commonplace in console gaming as well, with services such as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. After competitors have contacted each other, the game is often managed by a game server, either remotely to each of the competitors, or running on one of the competitor's machines.
Local area network
Additionally, competitions are also often conducted over a local area network or LAN. The smaller network usually has very little lag and higher quality. Because competitors must be physically present, LANs help ensure fair play by allowing direct scrutiny of competitors. This helps prevent many forms of cheating, such as unauthorized hardware or software modding. The physical presence of competitors helps create a more social atmosphere at LAN events. Many gamers organize LAN parties or visit LAN centres, and most major tournaments are conducted over LANs.
Individual games have taken various approaches to LAN support. In contrast to the original Starcraft, Starcraft II was released without support for LAN play, drawing some strongly negative reactions from players. League of Legends was originally released for online play only, but announced in October 2012 that a LAN client was in the works for use in major tournaments. In September 2013, Valve added general support for LAN play to Dota 2 in a patch for the game.
Esports tournaments are almost always physical events in which occur in front of a live audience. The tournament may be part of a larger gathering, such as Dreamhack, or the competition may be the entirety of the event, like the World Cyber Games. Competitions take several formats, but the most common are single or double elimination, sometimes hybridized with group stage. Competitions usually have referees or officials to monitor for cheating.
Although competitions involving video games have long existed, eSports underwent a significant transition in the late 1990s. Beginning with the Cyberathlete Professional League in 1997, tournaments became much larger, and corporate sponsorship became more common. Increasing viewership both in person and online brought eSports to a wider audience. Major tournaments include the World Cyber Games, the North American Major League Gaming league, the France based Electronic Sports World Cup, and the World e-Sports Games currently held in Hangzhou, China.
For well established games, total prize money can amount to millions of dollars a year. Often, game developers provide prize money for tournament competition directly, but sponsorship may also come from third parties, such as companies selling computer hardware, energy drinks, or computer software. Generally, hosting a large eSports event is not profitable as a stand alone venture. For example, Riot has stated that their headline League of Legends Championship series is "a significant investment that we're not making money from".
There is considerable variation and negotiation over the relationship between video game developers and tournament organizers and broadcasters. While the original StarCraft events emerged in South Korea largely independently of Blizzard, the company decided to require organizers and broadcasters to authorize events featuring the sequel StarCraft II. In the short term, this lead to a deadlock with the Korean e-Sports Association. Ultimately, an agreement was reached in 2012. Currently, Blizzard requires authorization for tournaments with more than $10,000 USD in prizes. Riot Games offers in-game rewards to authorized tournaments.
Esport competitions have also become a popular feature at gaming and multi-genre conventions. Riot games hosted their 2014 League of Legends European Regionals live at Gamescom, and hosted the North American counterpart at PAX.
Local Prized Events
Not all tournaments are strictly for professional level players, Riot Games allows anyone to organize a local tournament and will provide in game prizes like RP and a tournament-exclusive skin Triumphant Ryze.  Small local prized events like these sponsored player tournament allows anyone to jump into the growing world of e-sports.
Teams and associations
Professional gamers, or "progamers", are often associated with gaming teams and/or broader gaming associations. Teams include Evil Geniuses, Fnatic and Team Liquid. In addition to prize money from tournament wins, players may also be paid a separate team salary. Team sponsorship may cover tournament travel expenses or gaming hardware. Prominent eSports sponsors include companies such as Razer. Associations include the Korean e-Sports Association, United Kingdom eSports Association, and the International eSport Federation.
Ethics in esports
Pro gamers are usually obligated to behave ethically, abiding by both the explicit rules set out by tournaments, associations, and teams, as well as following general expectations of good sportsmanship. For example, it is common practice and considered good etiquette to chat "gg" (for "good game") when defeated. Many games rely on the fact competitors have limited information about the game state. In a prominent example of good conduct, during a 2012 IEM Starcraft II game, the players Feast and DeMusliM both voluntarily offered information about their strategies to negate the influence of outside information inadvertently leaked to "Feast" during the game. Players in some leagues have been reprimanded for failure to comply with expectations of good behavior. In 2012, professional League of Legends player IWillDominate was banned from competing for a period of one year following a history of verbal abuse. In 2013, the well known progamer Greg "Idra" Fields was fired from his team for insulting his fans on an internet forum. League of Legends players Mithy and Nukeduck received similar penalties in 2014 after behaving in a "toxic" manner during matches.
There have been serious violations of the rules. In 2010, eleven StarCraft: Brood War players were found guilty of fixing matches for profit, and were ultimately fined and banned from future competition. Two teams were denied prize money for collusion during the 2012 MLG summer championship. In 2012, Azubu Frost was fined $30,000 for cheating during a semifinal match of the world playoffs. Dota 2 player Aleksey "Solo" Berezin was suspended from a number of tournaments for intentionally throwing a game in order to collect $322 from online gambling.
There has been some concern over the quality of life and potential mistreatment of players by organizations, especially in the competitive market of South Korea. Korean organizations have been accused of refusing to pay competitive salaries, leading to a slow exodus of Korean players to other markets. In an interview, League of Legends player Bae "Dade" Eo-jin said "Korean players wake up at 1pm and play until 5am", and suggested that the 16 hour play schedule was a significant factor in causing burnout. Concerns over the mental health of players intensified in 2014 when League of Legends player Cheon Min-Ki attempted to commit suicide a week after admitting to match fixing.
To combat the negative environment, Korean League of Legends teams were given new rules for the upcoming 2015 season, including the adoption of minimum salaries for professional players, requiring contracts and allowing players to stream individually for additional player revenue.
Women in esports
The number of female viewers has been growing in esports, and in 2013 30% of eSports enthusiasts were female, an increase from 15% in the previous year. However, despite the increase in female viewers, there is a dearth of female players in high level competitive esports. The top female players that are involved in eSports mainly get exposure in female-only tournaments, most notably Counter-Strike, Dead or Alive 4, and StarCraft II.
The first professional female Starcraft 2 player, Kim "Eve" Shee-Yoon, was the subject of controversy in 2011 when her team manager stated that she had been selected for "her skills and looks.”
Canadian StarCraft II Zerg player Sasha Hostyn (Scarlett) first gained notoriety in the open qualifiers of IGN ProLeague 4, where she defeated top-tier Korean players. She is well known for being one of the few non-Korean players who can play at the same skill level as male Korean players.
Team Siren, an all-female League of Legends team, was formed in June 2013. The announcement of the team was met with controversy, being dismissed as a "gimmick" to attract the attention of men. The team disbanded within a month, due to the negative publicity of their promotional video, as well as the poor attitude of the team captain towards her teammates.
Accusations of sexism in professional eSports have been commonplace, and one Hearthstone competition drew headlines for only being open to male players, although the host of the tournament maintained that this was in accordance with the International eSports Federation's guidelines as was only meant to avoid possible conflicts with the rules down the line. Following the coverage of the event, the male-only tournament was opened to female players. In 2012, Street Fighter x Tekken player ArisBakhtanians commented on the lack of female players in the community, saying "sexual harassment is part of a culture, and if you remove that from the fighting game community, it's not the fighting game community." He later apologized for his comments.
The main medium for electronic sports coverage is the Internet. Coverage of eSports by general news organizations is generally sparse; most reports come from news organizations with a technology or video games focus. Esports Heaven, Esports Nation (ESN), and ESFI World are among the few independent news organizations specifically dedicated to electronic sports. Other typical sources for information include video game developer's websites, websites of professional teams, and independent community websites.
Electronic sports tournaments commonly utilize commentators or "casters" to provide live commentary of games in progress, similar to a traditional sports commentator. For popular casters, providing commentary for electronic sports can be a full-time position by itself. Prominent casters for StarCraft II include Dan Stemkoski and Nick Plott.
Many eSports events are streamed online to viewers over the internet. Dreamhack Winter 2011, for example, reached 1.7 million unique viewers. With the shutdown of the Own3d streaming service in 2013, Twitch is by far the most popular streaming service for competitive gaming. However, newcomers like Hitbox are growing fast and getting more attention. While coverage of live events usually brings in the largest viewership counts, the recent popularization of streaming services has allowed individuals to broadcast their own game play independent of such events as well. Individual broadcasters can enter an agreement with Twitch in which they receive a portion of the advertisement revenue from commercials which run on the stream they create.
The other major streaming platform is Major League Gaming's MLG.tv. The network, which specializes in Call of Duty content but hosts a range of gaming titles, has seen increasing popularity, with 1376% growth in MLG.tv viewership in Q1 of 2014. The 2014 Call of Duty: Ghosts broadcast at MLG's X Games event drew over 160,000 unique viewers. The network, like Twitch, allows users to broadcast themselves playing games, though only select individuals can use the service. Currently, MLG.tv is the primary streaming platform for the Call of Duty professional scene; famous players such as Matt Haag have recently signed contracts with the company to use its streaming service exclusively.
Especially since the popularization of streaming in esports, organizations within eSports no longer prioritize television coverage. Ongamenet continues to broadcast as an eSports channel in Korea, but MBCGame has shut down. Riot Games' Dustin Beck has stated that "TV's not a priority or a goal", and Dreamhack's Tomas Hermansson has said "eSports have a proven record to be successful on internet streaming only."[sic]
On the night before the finals of The International 2014, ESPN2 broadcast a half-hour special profiling the tournament. ESPN Inc. president John Skipper has since ruled out e-sports as a programming venture for their networks because they are, in his opinion, a "competition" rather than a "real sport".
- List of electronic sports players
- International eSport Federation
- Korean e-Sports Association
- United Kingdom eSports Association
- Entertainment Consumers Association
- Paul Tassi (20 Dec 2012). "2012: The Year of eSports". Forbes. Retrieved 15 Aug 2013.
- Ben Popper (30 Sep 2013). "Field of streams: how Twitch made video games a spectator sport". TheVerge. Retrieved 9 Oct 2013.
- Nick Schwartz (21 Jul 2014). "ESPN embraces eSports, broadcasts Dota 2 championship 'The International'". USA Today. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- inkblot (4 Dec 2011). "Where eSports Leagues Go Wrong With Fighters". SRK. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- robzacny (31 Dec 2012). "2012 in eSports: the battle for momentum between League of Legends, StarCraft 2, and Dota 2". PC Games N. Retrieved 15 Nov 2013.
- Dave LeClair (21 Oct 2013). "Why Are First-Person Shooters Not As Watched As Other eSports". MakeUseOf. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- "History of Korea e-Sports Association 1999–2004" (in Korean). KeSPA. Retrieved 7 Oct 2013.
- Paresh Dave (7 Aug 2013). "Online game League of Legends star gets U.S. visa as pro athlete". LA Times. Retrieved 4 Dec 2013.
- "P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete". US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved 7 Oct 2013.
- Andrew Groen (14 May 2013). "Why gamers in Asia are the world's best eSport athletes". PC World. Retrieved 7 Oct 2013.
- "ESL to bring world class eSports to Japan with new local partner". 4 Sep 2014. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Philippa Warr (9 April 2014). "eSports in numbers: Five mind-blowing stats". Red Bull. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- "Major League Gaming reports COWS GO MOO 334 percent growth in live video". GameSpot. 14 Nov 2012. Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- Alex Walker (13 Jan 2013). "Sunday eSports: Sexism on the eSports scene – a straw man's debate". GamesOnNet. Retrieved 9 Oct 2013.
- John Gaudiosi (28 Apr 2012). "Team Evil Geniuses Manager Anna Prosser Believes More Female Gamers Will Turn Pro". Forbes. Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- John Gaudiosi (29 Jul 2012). "Taipei Assassins Manager Erica Tseng Talks Growth Of Female Gamers In League Of Legends". Forbes. Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- Elsa (2011-09-08). "eSports: Really??". Destructoid. Retrieved 1 Sep 2013.
- Emanuel Maiberg (6 Sep 2014). "ESPN Says eSports Isn't a Sport -- What Do You Think?". GameSpot. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Graham, David Philip (December 12, 2011). "Guest Editorial – Momentum Matters: A Historical Perspective on the FGC and eSports". Shoryuken.com.
- Owen Good (19 Oct 2012). "Today is the 40th Anniversary of the World's First Known Video Gaming Tournament". Kotaku. Retrieved 1 Aug 2013.
- "Players Guide To Electronic Science Fiction Games". Electronic Games 1 (2): 35–45 . March 1982. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Bramwell, Tom (March 8, 2010). "Walter Day leaves Twin Galaxies". EuroGamer. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
- Carless, Simon (October 20, 2006). "World's Oldest Competitive Gamer Passes On". GameSetWatch. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
- Caoili, Eric (May 4, 2009). "Walter Day: Twin Galaxies and the Two Golden Domes". GameSetWatch. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
- "Video champ tourney bound". Sunday Star-News. December 23, 1984. p. 6F. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
- Michael Borowy (2012). "3". Public Gaming: eSport and Event Marketing in the Experience Economy (Thesis). Retrieved September 18, 2013.
- Ramsey, David. "The Perfect Man: How Billy Mitchell became a video-game superstar and achieved Pac-Man bliss.". Oxford American. Archived from the original on February 29, 2008.
- Plunkett, Luke (June 14, 2011). "Arcades Don't Make for Good TV (But Starcades do)". Kotaku. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
- Biggs, John (July 29, 2009). "The That's Incredible! Video Game Invitational: This is what we used to watch". Tech Crunch. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- Ebert, Roger (January 1, 1982). "TRON". Retrieved September 20, 2013.
- "GameSpotting 20XX, Page 7". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Kevin Kelly (Dec 1993). "The First Online Sports Game". wired.com. Retrieved 1 Jul 2013.
- Blockbuster Video World Game Championship Guide, GamePro Magazine, June 1994
- "E-sports Earnings". Retrieved 15 November 2014.
- Patrick Miller (29 Dec 2010). "2011: The Year of eSports". PCWorld. Retrieved 15 Aug 2013.
- Gaudiosi, John (12 February 2014). "'Ender's Game' Blu-ray gets ESports tournament". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- Tim Surette (11 Sep 2006). "Casual gamer gets serious prize". GameSpot.
- Kim, Ryan (2007-06-11). "League beginning for video gamers". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
- "ESL TV". Retrieved 16 Sep 2013.
- "Xfire Trophy CC3 @ Arena Online on Gameone TV". SK Gaming.
- Steve_OS (15 Sep 2008). "ESPN2's Madden Nation to Begin Fourth Season". Operation Sports. Retrieved 16 Sep 2013.
- Schiesel, Seth (28 Jul 2007). "Video Game Matches to Be Televised on CBS". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 Dec 2013.
- Patrick Howell O'Neill (16 Jan 2014). "Twitch dominated streaming in 2013, and here are the numbers to prove it". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Ben Popper (30 Sep 2013). "Field of streams: how Twitch made video games a spectator sport". The Verge. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Alex R (29 April 2014). "NINTENDO ANNOUNCES SUPER SMASH BROS. INVITATIONAL AT E3 2014". eSports Max. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Jasmine Henry (7 Sep 2014). "Microsoft Launching ‘Halo Championship Series’ eSports League". Game Rant. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Steve Jaws Jaworski (1 Jul 2014). "ANNOUNCING THE NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP". Riot Games. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Emanuel Maiberg (8 Feb 2014). "Blizzard eSports initiative will support your college gaming club". Game Spot. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Tassi, Paul. "Second US College Now Offering 'League of Legends' Scholarship". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- Magrino, Tom. "Welcome to the League of Legends 2014 World Championship!". Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- Clark, Tim. "What I learned from playing with a professional Hearthstone coach". www.pcgamer.com. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- Michael McWhertor (4 Mar 2011). "The Sacrifices of StarCraft II Made In The Name of Sports". Kotaku. Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- robzacny (24 Oct 2012). "How Riot Games are building a better League of Legends, and catching up to their own success". PC GamesN. Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- Alan LaFleur (21 Jun 2012). "Valve show developers how to support eSports with Dota 2". Esports Business. Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- "Spectator FAQ". Riot Games. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "Spectating". Curse.com. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- Steve Smith (15 August 2012). "Black Ops 2 CoDCaster System". Gamma Gamers. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- Jeremy Peel (16 Jan 2013). "StarCraft 2's new observer UI mod tool should make for better eSports broadcasts". PC GamesN. Retrieved 3 Nov 2013.
- Michael McWhertor (29 Jul 2013). "StarCraft 2 update adds new eSports features, color blind mode". Polygon. Retrieved 3 Nov 2013.
- Tom Senior (17 Aug 2011). "Dota 2 tournament showcases Valve's e-sports spectator package". PC Gamer. Retrieved 3 Nov 2013.
- Lucas Sullivan (17 Jun 2011). "The full breakdown on League of Legends' Spectator Mode". PC Gamer. Retrieved 3 Nov 2013.
- Jordan Devore (2013-11-10). "The latest Counter-Strike: GO update is for spectators". Destructoid. Retrieved 3 Nov 2013.
- Jason Schreier (20 Jun 2012). "Why StarCraft II Still Doesn't Support Local Multiplayer". Kotaku. Retrieved 7 Sep 2013.
- Michael McWhertor (12 Oct 2012). "League of Legends LAN version in development at Riot Games, Mac client news coming". Polygon. Retrieved 7 Sep 2013.
- Xairylle (20 Sep 2013). "DOTA 2 update: Why the LAN feature is something worth being excited about". TechInAsia. Retrieved 23 Sep 2013.
- "GotFrag eSports - All Games News Story - TF2 Referees Wanted". Gotfrag.com. 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2012-06-04.[dead link]
- Gloria Goodale (8 Aug 2003). "Are video games a sport?". CS Monitor. Retrieved 4 Dec 2013.
- Andrew Goldfarb (May 1, 2012). "League of Legends Season 2 Championship Announced". IGN. Retrieved Aug 22, 2012.
- David Schmidt (July 16, 2012). "NASL S3 Finals push SC2 earnings over $5m". ESFI World. Retrieved Aug 22, 2012.
- Ben Popper (30 Sep 2013). "Field of streams: how Twitch made video games a spectator sport". TheVerge. Retrieved 4 Dec 2013.
- robzacny (21 Aug 2013). "LCS "a significant investment that we're not making money from", but Riot love it anyway". PCGamesN. Retrieved 14 Sep 2013.
- Edge Staff (11 Nov 2010). "The battle for StarCraft II". Edge-Online. Retrieved 14 Sep 2013.
- Simon "Go0g3n" (2009). "Blizzard VS. Kespa, the Ultimate fight". Gosu Gamers. Retrieved 18 Sep 2013.
- Jeroen Amin (2 May 2012). "KeSPA, OGN, Blizzard and GOMtv Join Horses for StarCraft II". PikiGeek. Retrieved 14 Sep 2013.
- "Tournament Guidelines Document" (PDF). Blizzard. 6 Jun 2013. Retrieved 14 Sep 2013.
- "Prized Events". Riot. Retrieved 4 Dec 2013.
- Riot Pente (Jul 2014). "Get ready for Gamescom - EU Regionals Heading to Gamescom". Riot Games. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Nick Allen (15 Aug 2014). "SHOWDOWN IN SEATTLE - NA REGIONALS HEADING TO PAX PRIME". Riot Games. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Brent Ruiz (3 Feb 2013). "Interview with Razer's global e-sports manager: The business behind sponsoring teams". ESFI World. Retrieved 10 Sep 2013.
- David Daw (21 Jan 2012). "Web Jargon Origins Revealed". TechHive. Retrieved 22 Sep 2013.
- Victor Meulendijks (8 Feb 2012). "IEM Sao Paolo: Manner Bear Conflict". Cadred. Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- "IWillDominate Tribunal Permaban & eSports Competition Ruling". 4 Dec 2012. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Alexander Garfield (10 May 2013). "Evil Geniuses Releases Greg "IdrA" Fields". TeamLiquid. Retrieved 8 Jan 2014.
- "League of Legends Pro Players Banned for "Toxic Behavior"". 3 June 2014. Retrieved 22 Feb 2015.
- Jeremy Peel (27 Aug 2012). "League of Legends' Curse NA and Team Dignitas disqualified from MLG Summer Championship, no first or second place awarded". PC GamesN. Retrieved 22 Sep 2013.
- Laura Parker (10 Oct 2012). "Riot fines League of Legends cheaters $30,000". GameSpot. Retrieved 22 Sep 2013.
- Sun_tzu (21 June 2013). "Solo out of Rox.KIS". joinDota. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- Frank 'Riot Mirhi' Fields (5 Nov 2014). "KOREA'S PRO EXODUS MAY SPELL BAD NEWS FOR THE GAME'S TOP REGION". Riot Games. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Owen S. Good (18 Mar 2014). "Top Korean League of Legends player fixed matches before attempting suicide, says eSports league". Polygon. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Travis Gafford (27 Oct 2014). "Major changes heading to Korea for the 2015 season". OnGamers. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- "Top 100 Female Players". e-Sports Earnings. esportsearnings.com. Retrieved 27 Dec 2014.
- Becky Chambers (17 Aug 2011). "All About Eve: The Story of StarCraft 2′s First Female Pro". The Mary Sue. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- "Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn - Summary". e-Sports Earnings. esportsearnings.com. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- "Meet Scarlett, the 20-year-old woman who's blazing trails in 'StarCraft'". The Daily Dot. dailydot.com. 21 December 2013.
- "Introducing Team Siren - YouTube". 30 May 2013.
- "Why Team Siren Matters". 10 Jun 2013. Retrieved 27 Dec 2014.
- "Siren broke up (with proof) - Page 16 - League of Legends Community". 19 Jun 2013. Retrieved 27 Dec 2014.
- "League of Legends Team Siren Disbands: Valuable Lessons Learned - League of Legends". 26 Jun 2013. Retrieved 27 Dec 2014.
- Phil Savage (1 Jul 2014). "Hearthstone tournament explains why women aren't allowed to play". PC Gamer. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- Casey Johnston (18 Feb 2014). "Women are gamers, but largely absent from "e-sports"". ARS Technica. Retrieved 9 Nov 2014.
- "About Esports Nation". Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- "About ESFI". Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- Tracey Lien (16 Jul 2013). "How two StarCraft commentators became stars". Polygon. Retrieved 11 Sep 2013.
- "Dreamhack and Twitch.TV Announce Record-Breaking Online Viewership". Dreamhack.
- Jon Partridge (29 Oct 2014). "How Hitbox plans to take on Twitch". RedBull. Retrieved 29 Oct 2014.
- Erik Cloutier (29 Jan 2013). "Own3D is Shutting Down. Twitch TV Declared Winner.". GamingSoul. Retrieved 1 Jul 2013.
- Paul Tassi (2 May 2013). "Talking Livestreams, eSports and the Future of Entertainment with Twitch". Forbes. Retrieved 16 Sep 2013.
- "MLG Streaming Platform". Major League Gaming. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- "1376% Growth in MLG.tv Viewership in Q1". Major League Gaming. April 10, 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "MLG Championship 2014 - Anaheim, CA". Esports Maxl. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Video Game Super Star "Nadeshot" Signs Exclusive Deal with Major League Gaming". Major League Gaming. April 10, 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "The International Dota 2 championships will be watchable on ESPN3". Polygon. July 17, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- Daniel Tack (4 Sep 2013). "Riot Games, 'League of Legends', And The Future Of eSports". Forbes. Retrieved 8 Oct 2013.
- Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev (25 Sep 2013). "DreamHack partners with MTG for eSports studio in Stockholm". Gosu Gamers. Retrieved 12 Nov 2013.
- "Sorry, Twitch: ESPN’s Skipper Says eSports "Not a Sport"". Re/code. Retrieved 5 September 2014.