Esports is slowly growing, and by now it has become impossible to ignore. The unfortunate pandemic which the world is currently in has only boosted the influence which digital gaming and competitions have on the remainder of the world, so much so that these competitions are being streamed even on television stations like ESPN and BBC, and sportsbooks are offering opportunities to bet on some of the top esports picks.
From a technical standpoint, there are plenty of arguments as to what is needed to play Esports. The proper definition of Esports is the competition between two teams or individuals in a video game, mostly with some form of prize pool or reward on the line. This means that these players need to be competing on machines which can both run the game in question. Now, in the origin days of competitive gaming, the main games which used to be hosted were shooters, specifically Call of Duty 4, Wolfenstein and Quake, and all of these ran best on PC, especially with dedicated servers and mods which made the experience better and balanced for everyone. Nowadays, Esports is much more diverse and is featured most on console, with tournaments of Tekken on PS4, FIFA on both Xbox and PlayStation and CS:GO on PC. Now of course, consoles do not have any specs or variable power, unless we bring into the equation the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One S, but PCs obviously are oftentimes built by the players themselves, which means there will be a discrepancy in specifications from unit to unit.
Gaming PCs are obviously high-end rigs which are intended to run the latest games with the best of settings, like graphics, anti-aliasing, textures and other graphics set to High, or even Ultra. What is basically needed is only a good enough computer to run the game, because most players will use configurations which will limit graphics by a lot in order to obtain high fps.
Apart from the computers for the people playing, you also need to take into consideration the streaming equipment and software in order to stream the game to the viewers, who are making Esports as popular as it is. Streaming the game requires someone to be the “camera person” in the game, so basically being present in the server together with the players actually playing in order to be able to cycle through the different points of view and bring the feed directly to the stream. The camera person in-game will then need to transmit said visual to a single feed which ties together the stream and the casters together. This is obviously of top importance as the viewer’s experience needs to be as holistic as possible, bringing together all the action from the game and the caster’s commentary and analysis.
If we’re talking about the dearly missed offline events, you must also take into accounts all the live setups which are to be implemented in the arena. Things like sound engineering and lighting are top priority in these events, as viewers engagement needs to be high. Lighting may not be thought to be as fundamental as other aspects but believe me, it makes a huge difference. Having good light on the stage will bring out the arena much better to both people present at the event and also people watching from home on stream. Sound then is almost not needed to mention, as good audio feedback will make spectators much more hyped and anxious while watching the game being played out. Players will also need a seating area separated from the crowd, and if the game is highly important, there will be a stage where the teams will be seated in front of the viewers. Casters are also placed in an area a little bit distant from where all the action is taking place, meaning a quite sizeable infrastructure is also needed in order to conduct events of this magnitude.
Esports is all the rage lately, and with good reason – it is as entertaining as watching sports for a football fan. We are living in an age where, luckily, Esports is bound to continue growing and reaching new heights, and I for one cannot wait until we get there.