Not even a decade ago, playing video games was considered a pure waste of time by many. Despite the quality of entertainment and the fact that, for the first time in history, millions of people could join and share fun interactively, the elders simply felt nothing but hostility toward this trend of the digital age. The gaming industry grew, nevertheless, and continues to do so – at an astounding rate.
The Emergence of Digital Athletes
Once the Internet reached nearly every household in the modern world, it was time for a paradigm shift in the definition of a celebrity. Influencers, YouTubers and, of course, gamers would finally get their piece of the spotlight as the new celebrities of this binary world. At the same time, online video games were becoming more and more competitive, attracting new players all the time and forcing various competition hosts to raise, initially symbolic, awards constantly.
This was the birth of eSports, a fusion of sports and entertainment unlike anything seen before. “Gamers“ became known as eSport Athletes – and rightfully so – because to be among today’s best professional gamers means to be clever, able to stay focused and think outside of the box for prolonged periods of time, while having reflexes of a black mamba.
Gaming Awards and Rewards
eSports are not nearly as globally organized as traditional sports. There are no federations, and there are some continental competitions, but they receive small to no media coverage. Global commercial competitions, however, exist at an entirely different level. Here, athletes receive all the attention and awards they deserve, and can also earn substantial amounts of money.
Not every game is suitable for competition, though, so most tournaments revolve around Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft II, League of Legends and Dota 2.
ESL and Esport Awards
ESL, an esports organizer based in Germany, is the largest eSports company in existence today. They host three mega events (ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters Series and Intel Grand Slam), four professional leagues and numerous national championships spread throughout the calendar year.
Winners of professional leagues are considered world champions for a particular video game and winners of mega-events practically gain legendary status in the community, and Intel Extreme Masters started in 2006, is the longest running global professional gaming tour in the world. In order to become a Grand Slam winner, which no eSports clan has achieved yet, a total of four titles in Masters series or Pro Leagues must be won. The Grand Slam winning clan is also entitled to a $1,000,000 cheque.
The Esport Awards is an organization which recognizes the international esports business, showcasing top class performance and innovation from everyone within the scene. They present awards for various achievements, split into two main categories. Some of the awards include the award for the best eSports event, commercial partner, eSports journalist or video game streamer, but also for the top eSports athletes of various classifications, such as console and PC players, rookies, unsung heroes, etc.