ESports and Competitive Gaming

Find out what ESports is, why it's so popular and how can you can keep a young ESports gamer safe online

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Our gaming topics page has taken an in-depth look into how gaming has evolved over the years. Gaming has certainly changed since the days of Gameboys and the now extinct PlayStation 2, and as we’ve seen, it is fast becoming one of the most accessible forms of entertainment, particularly amongst young people. They are now being given vast opportunities to up their gaming skills and compete against others online. In the gaming world, ESports gives them the biggest opportunity of them all!

Before we delve further into ESports, you might be wondering what it is. Well, ESports, or ‘Electronic Sports’ is a competitive form of gaming, where professional gamers play for (sometimes) big money prizes, certificates or awards. For a game to be classed as an ‘ESports game’ it needs to feature a heavily competitive element where gamers can interact with others online, or in a physical setting.

The Impact of ESports and Competitive Gaming

People can take part in competitive gaming tournaments as an individual or as part of a team. As of 2021, these were the top 5 games that allowed fans to turn their favourite hobby into a passion or career. According to ‘European Gaming’ the top five competitive games are:

  1. Dota 2

  2. Fortnite

  3. League of Legends

  4. Overwatch

  5. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Other popular and recognisable titles, not mentioned in this list, include Rocket League and any latest editions of the Fifa franchise. 

ESports is only gaining popularity worldwide with interest also steadily growing in the UK. To emphasise its popularity, a 2020 survey from Barclays showed that 68% of 8-18 year olds in the UK would ‘choose a career in gaming over becoming a lawyer’ There are definite benefits to competitive gaming which is why it’s no surprise that we are seeing this increase in popularity. To cater to this increase, academic ESports teams have also become more common.

The British ESports Association are particularly ‘leading the way in ESports education’ by developing the world’s first BTEC in the genre. Alongside this, ESports academies and courses are starting to become more widely available in the UK. For example Exeter College, in the South West, recently opened their ESports academy and are developing more ways for people to get involved, including hosting the first corporate ‘ESports Tournament’ in the region.

This growth around competitive gaming means it will have a larger impact on young people in more ways than we first thought. As young people are being offered more opportunities to venture into this immersive gaming experience, let’s take a look at how they can benefit from taking part.

Benefits of ESports and Competitive Gaming

Considerations for Competitive Gaming

Here, we have touched on just a few of the benefits that the world of ESports can bring. However, like any form of gaming, competitive play does have some negatives, due to the high social and competitive nature that surrounds it. Let’s explore a few considerations for you to take into account, so you can support any young, avid gamer.

If you would like to discover further information and resources about gaming safety, you can access our informative ‘guidance for parents’ leaflet.

All hobbies or passions has its positives and negatives and we have explored the ones around competitive gaming to ensure that ESports fans in your home or classroom can fully enjoy the experience. As we’ve touched upon, ESports is a growing industry and it’s likely that a child or teenager will want to ‘press start’ on their competitive gaming adventure, whether online or at school or college. We hope we have given you the information and advice you need to help steer them in the right direction!

ESports Case Study – Exeter College

If you would like to see what else the gaming world has to offer, take a look at our gaming topics page which will be regularly updated with fun and informative resources! Stay up to date with all of our online safety news, guidance and advice by subscribing to our newsletter!