What is Esports? A beginner's guide for those who don't know

We’ve talked a fair bit about esports recently, from digging into whether esports could be an Olympic sport, to how to make money from this thriving industry. But for those who don’t know, what is esports?

Esports, short for Electronic Sports, is a term used to describe competitive video gaming. But don’t be mistaken in thinking that that means a casual competition like the splitscreen face-offs of the past with friends. Esports is a serious, professional industry with intense and meaningful competition set within some of the world’s biggest game franchises. From Counter Strike to Call of Duty, Valorant to Rocket League, there’s something for everyone in terms of competing, and huge prize money (in the tens of millions) on offer for those with the skill, commitment and strategy to reach the top.

Esports tournaments aren’t confined to one platform. They can be held on Xbox, Playstation or PC, and are watched by an audience that can number in the hundreds of thousands or even millions on key online streaming platforms like Twitch, or in person at specialist esports arenas.

With such a big audience base, the industry has opened up a wave of supporting roles in fields such as coaching and analysis, marketing and content creation, shoutcasting (presenting and commentating on esports tournament streams), broadcasting including camera operator roles, PR, finance and much, much more. 

The scale of audience, the vast pots of money moving back and forth in prize money, advertising and salaries, and the overwhelming level of passion is cementing esports as a sport for the modern era that is here to stay. A helpful factor in its meteoric rise is that esports is open to all, regardless of physical ability. Women in Games via British Esports Association suggests that an estimated 1 in 20 women and climbing are involved in the esports industry, and while diversity has historically been a challenge in esports (like a lot of industries and sports), work is being done to improve opportunities for people from all backgrounds. 

In short, esports isn’t just kids in a room playing games. It’s a real career with decent salaries and long-term career prospects for those willing to work hard and commit. Teams train for hours a day, carefully manage nutrition of their players and demand rigorous scheduling generally, like any other sports athlete. Like any other industry, work hard and you up your chances at success. 

If you or someone you know might be interested in a career in esports, a great way to get a head start in the industry is our Level 3 in Esports Management. Learn more esports and try out the varied roles available, find your path and become an industry-ready expert. Read more about the course here, and apply for September 2023 here