Competitive gaming has been a part of our industry since the very beginning. Even the very first game ever made, William Higginbotham’s Tennis For Two , features a competitive two player game that simulates a competitive tennis match.
Tennis. Sport. It seems “competitive sports” were an integral part of the very development of video games.
“Competitive sports” were around since the very first game, Tennis For Two, made in 1958.
Flash forward to today and games have come much closer to competitive sports.
eSports is one of the fastest growing branches of both sports and entertainment. Millions of gamers train ever day in the hope of becoming of the best. Thousands pack out stadiums like Seattle’s The KeyArena (where this year’s DOTA International Championships took place) to watch live events. Millions more watch at home. eSports has grown so much that it’s now rivalling many of the more traditional sports for both entrants, attendees, and viewers.
Naturally, many gamers are starting to ask “How do I get into eSports”?
There are many different avenues from which you can enter eSports.
The way you enter eSports depends on your ultimate ambition. Do you dream of being a star player, being watched by millions of people across the world as you compete for the world championships, as Team Evil Geniuses did at the DOTA 2 finals? Do you dream of being a caster, adding entertainment by commentating over popular games? Maybe you’d like to become a tournament organiser and be the man actually making all those eSports events happen.
Whatever your eSports ambitions, whether you want to be an eSports player, caster, or tournament organiser, you can make your dreams come true. But it is going to take hard work to become truly successful.
The sheer number of people involved in eSports and the amount of money circulating the niche makes eSports one heck of a competitive field. Try putting up a video on Youtube and sure, you might get lucky, or you might find yourself lost in the quagmire of obscurity, where lie the hoards of gamers who struggle to make themselves heard.
If you’re going to get into eSports, you’re going to want to do it right. That way all the time that you invest in getting involved in eSports will end up paying off when you’re a major star like Daigo Umehara or a Youtube personality like PewDiePie.
Becoming a gaming God like Daigo Umehara is just one direction your eSports career might go.
But every journey has a first step, and the first step is getting into eSports in the first place. So how do you do that?
Begin by learning about the eSports community in your area.
Unless you’re living under a tree in the middle of the rainforest there’s almost certainly some sort of eSports scene near you. If you’re in a city in North America you will definitely have access to an eSports scene, and there’ll generally be one scene for every gaming niche and / or specific game.
For instance, I often compete, commentate and help run events in the Fight Game Community. That’s my personal thing. And in the fighting game community there’s one scene in virtually every major city in North America (my scene is the Greater Toronto Area). So ,to get involved in the fighting game community niche of eSports, the first thing to do would be to connect with that scene and to just start hanging out at events and getting involved.
But how can you find the eSports scenes and communities near you?
If you don’t happen to know where your local scene is and where events take place, you need to research.
Most major games and games communities have a central “hub” website that holds it all together. For instance the Fighting Game Community that I work with runs through Shoryuken.com. By hitting up the Shoryuken forums you can find people near you and ask them how to get involved. That’s precisely what I did 8 years ago. It was only by making that first contact on Shoryuken.com that I was able to enter my local eSports scene.
Things have changed a little, and now a lot of games run through Facebook. Try visiting Facebook and entering a search for the title of the game you want to be involved with. Then click the groups / events tab. So that, for instance, is “Dota 2” > Groups & Events.
Try searching for your favourite games under Groups and Events in Facebook.
So to get involved in eSports, begin by discovering your local scene and attending a few events.
If there isn’t a specific game that you’d like to get involved with then try visiting several different scenes and trying them out. You might find you feel a closer affinity to one community than to another. Some of the games and scenes worth reaching out to include: DOTA 2, Starcraft 2, League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and the fighting game community.
Regardless of whether you want to be a player, a caster, a tournament organiser, or any other component of the eSports scene, it all begins by reaching out to that local community near you. That’s the first step in what will hopefully be a long and wonderful journey.
And not only will it be the first step in your eSports career, but it will also be the beginning of a new social community for you. Because the truth is that eSports is where the more social aspect of gaming takes place. When you get into eSports and actually start attending events you get to meet hundreds of people just like you, people who are passionate about the gaming scene and about eSports. In fact, one of my favourite things about eSports has nothing to do with the games. I love the sense of community in the scene. After 8 years I now have an entire social network of passionate gamers who are close friends. That’s worth as much as any eSports career.
Once you’re involved with the scene you will want to begin to enter the specific role that you’re aiming for. If you want to be a player, caster, or organiser you’re going to need to ingratiate yourself with the scene.
Because here’s the deal: eSports is a community thing. You’re only going to succeed with the support of other members of that scene.
If you’re a player, you’re going to want to make friends with every other top player so that you form a strong training team. A strong training team is one of the essential tools you’ll need to get good enough to make it to the top. So be a cool dude, make friends with everyone, and then you’ll get to play them more often, leading to more training and better skills.
If you’re a tournament organiser you’re going to need people to attend your events. When you’re just starting out, most of the people who attend your events will be your friends. The more friends you have in the scene the more people will attend your events and the more successful you’ll be.
If you’re a caster you’ll need people to watch your streams. Again, most of those people will be your friends, at least to begin with.
So what this all comes down to is this. To get into eSports and to start your career rolling, contact your local scene, go to events, make friends, and just start to get involved.
Not only will this get your into eSports, but it will be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things you do.