Gaming is one of the most popular activities in the world. The average age of a gamer is about 30 years old, and by this time they have been playing video games for an average of about 12 years. Of course, there is a wide degree of variance among us gamers, ranging from the casual to the hardcore, the old and white headed to the young and spry. Some are particularly fond of immersive single-player games, others the cut throat competition of multiplayer. Some have sworn allegiance to Gaben and the “master race” while others prefer their couches, consoles and controllers. The one vein that we all share is that we have chosen to spend some of our limited free time on an activity that is by all means an interactive experience, engaging our mind with something that presents unique mental challenges.
A common argument leveled at gamers is that gaming is a waste of time. Oftentimes this comes from concerned parents and significant others, but it is likely that you yourself have wondered if your better off spending your time on other things. Of course, it is a healthy habit to always consider how one spends his or her time, especially when it is an activity that takes up a relatively large portion of it. We are apt to counter such an argument with the old adage “Time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted.” Nonetheless, we do not consider ourselves qualified to tell you the “best” or “right” way to go about spending your time. This being said, we certainly do think gaming is a wonderful and engaging past time and that some games also offer an intriguing social experience to boot. Obviously this is a gaming website afterall, so we may be a little biased to begin with. Recently this argument has seen a profound change to its dynamic, as some particularly devoted individuals have begin to make a living—and in some cases a damn good one—off of playing video games. It will be interesting to see how this development changes the social perception of gaming in general.
While gaming is growing across nearly all categories, competitive gaming in particular has been a category of intense interest and starting to make its way into the public eye. DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike are some of the big titles that first come to mind, but there are other games also elbowing there way onto the scene or already have established large fan bases. Recently, there has been a flurry of big news items in the competitive gaming world. Valve’s DOTA 2 tournament, The International raised a crowd funded $10.9 million prize pool, a testament to the gaming community’s enthusiasm. This becomes even crazier when you consider that only 25% of these donated funds went to the prize pool, the other 75% went directly to Valve (meaning a total of $33.6 million was raised.) The tournament was broadcasted as a multi-day event on ESPN. The result? Daily Dot reported that ESPN was ‘delighted’ with the DOTA 2 numbers and are now looking at broadcasting additional eSports events. Sure the event was only broadcasted on ESPN3, but there was also a brief documentary on ESPN 2. A year ago many naysayers voiced the opinion that video game competitions would never make it to a major network. Not only are events such as this growing the popularity of one of our favorite past times, they are also upping the legitimacy of gaming as a respectable hobby.. and perhaps even a new type of sport.
In accord with the rise in larger tournaments and prize pools, web traffic numbers also tell a compelling growth story. Twitch, as Forbes has dubbed the “ESPN of Video Games,” has grown to have the 4th largest share of total internet traffic trailing only Google, Netflix, and Apple. As the old saying goes, “numbers don’t lie.” Twitch has become so prominent that it has recently been confirmed that Amazon is acquiring it for $1.1 billion dollars. When a company like Amazon purchases your site you can bet your sweet bippy they are confident it has a bright future. Amazon also happens to own the largest cloud capacity of any tech company—allowing Twitch to continue to scale without interruption. Of course, its not all rainbows and butterflies for competitive gaming. There are some serious professional hurdles that it must overcome. Naysayers claim it is the novelty factor that is a large part of its skyrocketing popularity, that the fad will fade. Time will tell.
The awesome thing about online competitive gaming is that—to a large degree—it transcends social, geographical, and cultural boundaries. Personal differences such as height, appearance and personalities don’t matter. Everyone starts out on a level playing field because the playing field is a virtual one, programmed to near mathematical perfection. The major factor separating the best from the rest is skill. But we’d be lying if we claimed that is the only pre-requisite to laying waste to your enemies. Your internet connection, gaming rig, monitor, audio, and other peripherals play a large role in your awareness and executing actions quick enough to out-play your opponents. High Ground Gaming is dedicated to providing clear and concise information, reviews, and guides on the latest and greatest gaming equipment. We have also incorporated (and will continue to add) a mix of other articles that we think our worthy of our reader’s attention. We appreciate your readership and all the support our site has received thus far and will continue adding useful content.