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eSports History

  • Period: to

    The Beginning

    The birth of eSports, these tournaments in the beginning sparked the need for more gaming competitions.
  • First Video Game Tournament

    First Video Game Tournament
    In November of 1980, Atari held the first ever large-scale video game tournament: The National Space Invaders Championship. It was created to help promote their console release of the popular game, Space Invaders on the Atari 2600. The tournament had 10,000 participants and was extremely important to the growth of eSports as it helped popularize competitive gaming and inspired future tournaments to occur.
  • Nintendo World Championships

    Nintendo World Championships
    Probably the biggest video game tournament of the 1990s, The Nintendo World Championship had thousands of competitors compete to get the highest score in the games Super Mario Bros, Rad Racers and Tetris with a time limit of 6 minutes and 21 seconds. This tournament featured a bigger prize pool then the space invaders tournament with a $10,000 cash prize for the winner as well as a convertible and a television. This tournament started to set the tone for bigger prize pools in future tournaments.
  • Period: to

    PC Gaming and Online Play

    This was a period where true competitive player vs player games were made and online connections helped create a global competitive gaming community.
  • Red Annihilation

    Red Annihilation
    This was a tournament for the popular FPS, Quake. It was sponsosered by Micirosoft and the winner got a ferrari as the grand prize. This tournament had 2000 participants and it created a demand for more tournaments of a similar nature. Quake was one of the first 1v1 player vs player type games so it allowed for better tournaments then previous arcade games did where people fought for a better high score.
  • Cyberathlete Professional League is founded

    Cyberathlete Professional League is founded
    A few weeks after the success of Red Annihalation, the Cyberathlete Professional League was created. Featuring popular games such as Quake, the CPL looked to organize more competitive tournaments as well as offer players bigger prizepools which would reward them for being good at the games and give an incentive for people to get into competitive gaming. Right now, they are many eSports organizations which host events and offer money to players, but the CPL was the first big one.
  • Starcraft released

    Starcraft released
    Starcraft was a sci-fi real time strategy game created by Blizzard. It singlehandedly sparked the huge surge of eSports popularity in South Korea and as the professional scene developed, it really set the tone for how eSports tournaments should be treated and handled all around the world. One of the reasons it became so massively popular was the online play. Players all over the country could face off against each other in a battle of wits and this easy acessability of competition made it great.
  • KeSPA is formed

    KeSPA is formed
    Founded in 2000, with approval from the Korean ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It's goal when created was to make eSports an official sport and would do this by broadcasting events, making sure to create tournaments and leagues as well as creating a good atmosphere for pro gamers to work in. KeSpa is one of the most important eSports organizations in the world and is the reason that eSports is such a big phenomenon in South Korea.
  • Period: to

    eSports gets big

    At the beginning of the 2000's with more games being played over the internet and more organizations getting involved in eSports, during this time period is when eSports flourished into what it is today.
  • World Cyber Games

    World Cyber Games
    A new South Korean eSports organization was created in late 2000, by the name of the World Cyber Games. The goal of the organization was to create an annual international tournament similar in a sense to the Olympics except with eSports instead of actual sports. This was one of the first international competitions.
  • MLG is founded

    MLG is founded
    MLG is one of the biggest eSports organizations today, with tournaments for dozens of differents titles and genres. Their goal when being founded as a company was to turn competitive gaming into something professional with real competition and prizes and value as a spectator sport. They seeked to turn eSports into a mainstream event by offering a lucrative prizepool and they even managed to get one of their tournaments televised. Today hundreds of thousands of people watch or attend their events
  • CPL World Tour

    CPL World Tour
    The CPL World tour was a year long circuit which featured tournaments for the FPS game, Painkiller which ran for the entire year until the Finals were played in November. The total prize pool for the entire year was $1,000,000. The winner of the grand finals hosted in New York were awarded a prize of $150,000. The way the tournaments were set up all-year long and the attractive prizepool began to stir a lot of interest in the eSports scene, whether as a player or a spectator.
  • Match-Fixing Scandal

    Match-Fixing Scandal
    On May 16th, 2010, a horrible match-fixing scandal surfaced in Korea involving 11 different players, including what was considered one of the best Starcraft players of all time: Savi0r. These players had intentionally fixed matches to gain large amounts of money from the illegal gambling scene.This event singlehandedly almost destroyed eSports in South Korea, the home of eSports. Fans felt betrayed and viewing numbers decreased heavily.
  • League of Legends Season 2 World Championship

    League of Legends Season 2 World Championship
    The League of Legends season 2 World championship had the biggest prize pool for any eSports tournament of all time, totalling to around 2 Million dollars. The grand prize was 1 Million dollars. Over 8.2 million viewers watched the online stream of the tournament, making it the most watched eSports event of all time.
  • Us Government recognizes League of Legends Players as Professional Athletes

    As a result of many discussions with the creators of the game, Riot Games and the US government, League of Legends has been recognized as a professional sport. Foreign players may now gain visas to live the country and work there under the title of a professional athlete.
  • League of Legends becomes an Olympic Sport

    League of Legends becomes an Olympic Sport
    Because of the United State's decision to recognize League of Legends players as professional athletes, The International Olympic Commitee also decided to accept it as an olympic sport. The game will be featured at the 2016 summer olympics in Rio do Janeiro, Brazil.
  • League of Legends Season 3 World Championship

    League of Legends Season 3 World Championship
    This tournament broke the previous year's record of 8.2 million total online viewers with 1.1 million watching at once. During the Season 3 world championships, 32 million people watched it being streamed online, with 8.5 million watching simulteneously. This tournament broke the record of most watched eSports event of all time.