Even if you’re not a huge fan of traditional sports, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about eSports. Gone are the days when video gaming was merely considered a hobby. Today, professional gamers are raking in big bucks playing in the competitive gaming scene. We’re talking about teenagers who earn tens of thousands or even millions of dollars through salary and tournament prizes. No matter how absurd it is to think of young players making more money than conventional office workers, the fact is that eSports is real and the future looks even more promising.
A Step Back In History
First, let’s talk about the humble beginning of competitive video gaming. In October 1972, Stanford University hosted the first competitive gaming tournament for the game “SpaceWar” called “Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics.” The prize for winning it all was a one-year free subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Several years later, Atari hosted a competition for “Space Invaders.” These two tournaments proved that gamers were willing to gut it out with other players, even if the prize wasn’t anything to write home about.
Fast forward to 2018, competitive gaming tournaments for some of the most popular games like DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are much-awaited events by fans across the globe. And the winners don’t get a subscription to some magazine; they fill their pockets with millions of dollars.
There are even talks about eSports making it to the Olympics as a medal event. Sure, the Olympic committee currently doesn’t see eSports as a real sport that should be included in the Olympics, but talks continue to be held with the hope of making them say yes. It’s clear that eSports is massive, drawing in large audiences mostly from the millennial population. The money is there, which might convince the committee to grant the approval and allow us to see Olympic video gamers.
Blockchain and eSports
While eSports keep on gearing it up to the next level, blockchain-based esport projects are taking notice. They recognize the enormous potential of eSports, believing that the industry has much more room to grow. This year, the eSports industry is expected to reach $900 million. It has grown tremendously over the past few years, and the introduction of blockchain can speed up the growth exponentially.
Many gaming platforms couldn’t wait to capitalize on the growth of eSports, but they rely on traditional centralized systems. The most successful video games enable players to play with other people, share unique in-game experiences, and earn rewards through centralized platforms. All these seem great, but the centralized nature of the current system means there’s a severe lack of transparency especially concerning prize distribution.
Several players have expressed frustration regarding the withdrawal of their funds and prizes. Fraud is a common issue particularly when third-party services are involved. Not to mention, the bettering infrastructure that has grown in popularity in the past couple of years also suffers from a lack of trust.
Blockchain technology can solve all of these issues. The fraudulent activities that worry players can be put to an end using the power of blockchain. The centralized system of disbursing prizes can be changed to a decentralized platform to gain the trust of players and address the lack of transparency. This is particularly beneficial since the millennials are the largest population of gamers, and they show the most interest in blockchain technology as well.
But for those who do not know a lot about blockchain, just how can this technology revolutionize the eSports industry? Perhaps of most interest is how it can solve the lack of monetization in the video gaming space. Nowadays, gamers aren’t just looking to play their favorite games for hours on end; they want to earn some nice money while doing so. Yes, professional gamers are making millions of dollars, but what about the average gamer who only spends time playing at home?
Some platforms are already filling this hole. YouTube, for instance, serves as a platform in which gamers can upload their own content and then monetize it with ads. For many, it’s unbelievable how players are willing to spend several hours each day watching other people play. But if you think about, it’s not much different from watching traditional sports.
Twitch is another popular service for gamers. Owned by Amazon, this streaming service allows players to live stream their games for everyone to see. People can donate to their favorite streamers. Some even give out thousands of dollars, enabling the most popular streamers to earn tens of thousands of dollars each month. This has enabled a ton of gamers to stay at home and play all day while making some serious cash.
But this doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Introducing a decentralized platform that works similarly to YouTube and Twitch means players can earn even more money. Players can keep on playing and banking, but decentralizing the prize disbursement introduces a sense of transparency and trust. Some games now work on the blockchain, featuring weekly tournaments and seasonal leaderboards and giving coins or tokens to the winners.
Blockchain technology can also address the fraud and high transactional fees involved in withdrawing prizes. Even in the gaming industry, chargebacks are a real problem. This usually involves a troll who donates money to one player and then takes the money back later on. The problem is that it can be a real pain to get this money back, and even gamers who have done nothing wrong can be kicked from the server or the game itself.
Even professional players who earn a basic salary from their teams can benefit from using a decentralized platform. Today, they often get paid late because of the complexity of traditional payouts. But creating a decentralized system that revolves around the gamers can solve this issue, allowing players to have fun playing without a worry in the world about getting their rightful compensation.
There’s no doubt that eSports will only keep on growing, but the big corporations shouldn’t be the ones who’d benefit the most from this massive growth. Blockchain technology enables gamers to reap the biggest rewards while fueling the growth of the industry.