You’ve stayed up late into the night, listening to commentators giving detailed accounts of the epic match as your favourite team face their toughest foe yet. You breath a sigh of relief and pump your fist in the air when they emerge victorious.
Sounds like a scene straight out of this year’s FIFA World Cup. Nope. It's what you would have seen during The International, an annual electronics sports tournament hosted by Valve. Yes, the same people who gave you the online game distribution system, Steam.
Such gaming tournaments are the very pillar of today's esports. Sadly, the biggest challenge faced by aspiring esportsmen isn’t the lack of training facilities or competitions to hone their skills. It’s the misconception that esports has no future for those on the cusp of entering and meeting the demands of society.
Where careers are concerned, friends and family of these young and passionate gamers view esports as just a game.
This is far from the truth. The International’s game of choice, Dota 2, is merely one of many that represents all the good that comes from esports. Like any sports teams, esports competitors work just as hard, training and developing strategies based on its rivals play. As far as values are concerned, patience, respect and above all, sportsmanship, are imparted within esports teams.
Career progression? There’s plenty. Like football teams, it’s common for outstanding team players to become captains. Eventually, there’s a progression towards becoming managers who handle the business aspect of team management and sponsorship.
Then, there’s the prospect of getting a portion of a huge payout, like the US$10 million prize for The International 2014, which happens to be the largest prize pool ever for a gaming tournament.