Forget the Olympics, the new craze in sports is electronic
Hot on the running spikes of the Rio Olympics, TropicNow's technology writer James Harding takes a look at one of the hottest sporting contests around: E-Sports
If you asked 100 primary school students what they wanted to be when they grew up, I am sure there would be a high percentage of aspiring professional athletes.
They might want to play professional soccer or rugby and their parents are more than happy to support their goals by ferrying them to training twice a week for years on end.
What about the very few that aspire to be professional video gamers? 10 years ago it would all be a joke, but not anymore.
In the very little spare time I have between jobs, I thoroughly enjoy watching live streams of other gamers playing the chosen game competitively.
"James," some of my friends often say to me, "how can you find it interesting to watch other gamers play games? Why don’t you just play them?"
My response: "Well how do you find it interesting watching the rugby? Why don’t you just play rugby?"
You see, people who are into E-Sports watch people play games because they are better than we are, we watch to learn their strategies, we watch to see the entertaining plays they make, we watch to see our favourite players or teams win and define the path the professional gaming scene takes.
Since 2003, E-sports has grown in size exponentially. The League of Legends Worlds in 2015 had 36 million viewers watching the final.
That is an unbelievable amount for a game that has only been around since 2009. That is six million more than the viewers watching the Rio opening ceremony globally.
Is there money to be made? Absolutely.
This year's International DOTA2 competition (Defence of the Ancients 2 which is an online battle arena game) had a total prize pool of $20 million.
Even Call of Duty, which I'm sure many parents know and love has a yearly tournament with a prize pool of $1 million.
I pose this question: to be an international professional athlete, how many people do you need to be better than to get to that level?
I can guarantee the pool of gamers who take their games seriously is infinitely smaller and therefore easier to climb.
But where will E-Sports be in 10 years from now?