The Rise Of The eSports Empire
Since the advent of mainstream video gaming, the pastime has been typically regarded by adults as an unproductive and even corrupting form of child's play. But the perception is now changing. Imagine being featured on TIME’s most influential Teens at the age of 17 and then becoming a millionaire just for playing a video game. That is exactly what happened to a Pakistani boy named Sumail Hassan who before that was selling his bike at a very low price just so he could afford a few gaming sessions.
The eSports industry is rapidly growing. Last year for instance, DOTA 2’s prize pool made history at US$25 million. The world's top celebrities and athletes, such as Shaquille O'Neal, Drake and Odell Beckham Junior, are also getting involved in the industry, either through hefty investments or direct involvement. When Drake played Fortnight with a famous game streamer known as Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, concurrent viewership went up to 635,000 on an Amazon-owned platform called Twitch.
It is estimated that by 2020, the eSports community will reach $US1 billion in revenue. For gamers looking to change their lives financial, one of the biggest competitions in this industry is The International, by a computer-based game Dota 2. It's like the world cup of eSports except that it is celebrated every year rather than every four years and that not a single team has won it twice. The total sum of the prize money from 1,100 Dota 2 tournaments worldwide is over $US181 million, while Counter-Strike: Global Offensivecomes in second with $US79 million accumulated from 4,127 tournaments. The third highest rewarding game is League of Legends, also known as LOL, with 2,315 tournaments adding up to a value of $US68 million in prize money.
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