Once upon a time, esports were taken as a laughing matter. A pipe dream of nerds the world over that they could make a living playing video games. Growing up, we had local LAN tournaments, with maybe a monitor or a fancy gaming mouse as the prize. Nowadays though? With prize pools reaching 20 million dollars and above and a global industry market value of $1.44 billion, esports is a very real industry and one you should be paying attention to.
What are esports?
Esports are video games played at the absolute highest level. Professional players make their name and claim their fame with fantastic plays and signature strategies. Like traditional sports like AFL and soccer, fans back their favourite teams and get inspired to play themselves.
The early popularity of esports in Korea and the rest of Asia played a large role in growing this viewer base to what it is today. Even before esports was a term in the west, games like Starcraft attracted massive audiences in Korea, and Asia was well on its way to become a global esports hub long before the rest of the world’s infrastructure and gaming culture caught up.
The most successful esports games enjoy a larger viewer base than even the largest sports. But what games are people playing?
The most popular titles
While any competitive multiplayer title can become an esport, there are some that have become household names, games which people base their entire careers upon. Games such as Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, Valorant, and of course, our beloved League of Legends, a five vs five top-down strategy game. These games bring in millions of viewers worldwide, where teams compete globally for multimillion-dollar prize pools.
But not all games have or even need such titanic prizes to enjoy esports success. Fighting games, such as Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, and Tekken, see huge viewerships, with EVO 2023 having a peak of 250,000 viewers watching fighting game pros duke it out in the ring.
But there’s a reason we specified League of Legends as our beloved; we have a horse in this race ourselves…
Pentanet was founded when Perth’s bad internet connectivity held one gamer back from climbing the ranks in League of Legends due to unbearable lag. While he’s rectified that problem with Pentanet’s superfast, ultra-low latency connections, it still wasn’t enough. He could climb ranked on his own, but what would the absolute best look like? Well, we get to see that through our esports organisation and professional League of Legends team, Pentanet.GG.
Since its establishment, Pentanet.GG has seen massive success in our regional Circuit Oceania and on the world stage. The first Oceanic team to ever make it past the groups stage, Pentanet.GG made history at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2021. Having our home here in Perth has afforded us a unique opportunity to train with the Pacific Championship Series teams from Hong Kon, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia, some of the best teams in the world. We expect this will see huge returns going forward into LCO Split 2.
Pentanet.GG won’t be our only contribution to the esports world, however. We consider esports to be a critical part of digital entertainment moving forward. We plan to do our best to develop Perth’s esports opportunities for players and all aspects of the esports industry.
Pentanet Executive Associate Zac Montague said, “The gaming industry, with esports as a key pillar, is currently one of the most exciting industries in the world. Seeing continuous growth in both viewership and investment globally, it offers a pathway where dreams that once deemed unattainable can turn into reality, not to mention a full-time sustainable career. We’re so excited to see our team, Pentanet.GG enjoying great success and can’t wait to see them reach new heights on the world stage.”
So, if you’ve been looking for a reason to get curious about esports, here’s your sign. Want to see what the best look like in action? You can find the highlights of one of our matches below, be sure to back the team next season, kicking off later this year.