The Rise of E-Sports: Exploring the Global Phenomenon and Montreal’s Role

Montreal is a large market that has a significant passion for gaming that will only continue to grow.

The world of gaming has rapidly evolved in the past several decades. From Pong in the 1970s to 50 years later, hyper-realistic, immersive games, the technology around video games has expanded rapidly. The same goes for the culture surrounding games. Whereas video games started as a diversion, they are now played by billions of people around the world, watched on live streams, and competed in professionally with E-Sports.

E-Sports have grown from an unknown industry to a world-renowned, global form of competition. You can read about E-Sports news on ESPN, bet on E-Sports on Quebec sports betting websites, and spot your favorite gamers on the covers of magazines. So, how did it get like this? How did E-Sports take over the world? And does it retain its relevancy in Montreal?

Beginning of E-Sports

While E-Sports is a massive form of competition that is known around the world today, when video games first began, this was not the case. The first-ever video game tournament was held at Stanford University in 1972. The competitors played Spacewar!, an arcade-style game. The first prize for the winner was a year’s subscription to Rolling Stone. Around 15 people competed in this tournament.

This was the start of major growth. Arcade tournaments became hugely popular throughout the 1970s and 1980s, not just in Canada and the United States but in places like Japan. The prizes grew, but overall, the attention paid to these tournaments outside of hardcore video game fans was minimal.

The biggest video game tournament in the early phase of E-Sports was the Space Invader Championship, a national tournament held by Atari. It had 10,000 participants and played a significant role in cementing E-Sports as part of the mainstream in America.

Global Expansion

From the early days of the industry, things rapidly changed. As video game technology improved, games became much more complex. The big change was the birth of the internet and online video games, which allowed gamers to play head-to-head in large groups. The games required more strategy, had more variables, and tournaments had more competitors. This led to a much more exciting viewing experience, and E-Sports began to take off. 

Large E-Sports tournaments began to be held in destinations around the world as games like CounterStrike, StarCraft, and World of Warcraft became popular. Burgeoning markets like South Korea began to become fascinated by E-Sports, and they would host huge events attended by thousands. 

During the 2010s, E-Sports became a global phenomenon. The tournaments got bigger, prizes better, and leagues became established. Major E-Sports tournaments like the World Cyber Games and Major League Gaming arrived in the mainstream. E-Sports started to be played on every continent, and physical and online viewership skyrocketed. 

A Future-Oriented Industry

While E-Sports has grown substantially in the past decade, it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. There are a lot of opportunities for the industry to expand, and there have been some fascinating steps taken in recent years. For one, celebrity investors have flooded into E-Sports. Big names like Will Smith, Drake, and Michael Jordan have invested in leagues and teams looking to capitalize on the industry’s growth. These famous figures can serve as incredible ambassadors for gaming.

Another impressive sign is that there have been many E-Sport stadiums that have been built around the world. In Arlington, Texas, there is a large venue that has been specifically designed for E-Sports, hosting tournaments in games like Valorant that pay out cash prizes of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In London, a former Olympic venue now hosts live E-Sports events attended by thousands.

E-Sports will likely only continue to grow because the number of gamers is higher today than ever before. There are more celebrities involved, bigger cash prizes, and a more realistic path toward games becoming a viable career for young people around the world. It is a fascinating trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

Montreal and E-Sports

Montreal is a big market for E-Sports. As one of Canada’s biggest cities, it is a densely populated hub with many residents who love playing and watching others play video games. The city has the cultural and physical infrastructure to back up its status as a major part of the online gaming ecosystem.

One of the staples of the Montreal video game scene is Montreal Esports Central, a video game complex that stretches across 14,000 square feet. It is a restaurant, bar, and gaming center where visitors can play and watch video games. This downtown complex has also announced plans to host tournaments once it is fully established.

There are many tournaments that have been held in Montreal for E-Sports, with games ranging from Super Smash Bros to CS:GO. It is a large market that has a significant passion for gaming that will only continue to grow.