Esports Frequently Asked Questions


  • Questions

  • What is esports?

    Esports are video games played competitively in front of an audience. Whereas gaming historically took place at home or in an arcade, technological advances in streaming and online gaming has transformed video games into spectator sports, including both live and online events. Roundhill considers live game streaming as a part of the broader esports ecosystem.

    Related: How to Invest in Esports

  • When did esports start?

    The first recorded esports competition took place at Stanford University in October 1972 whereby students competed at the game “Spacewar.” The first large-scale gaming tournament took place 8 years later, when Atari hosted the “Space Invaders Championship”.

    In terms of video game live streaming, popular platforms emerged in the mid-2000s, including (now known as Twitch) in the US, and AfreecaTV in Korea.

  • How to spell esports?

    According to the Associated Press, the proper spelling is “esports”, or “Esports” if used at the beginning of the sentence. Esports, which stands for electronic sports, should be spelled the same way as electronic mail, or email.

  • How much do esports players make?

    The top esports players in the world can make millions of dollars per year from tournament winnings.

    However, base salaries may vary widely by game and organization. In the case of Activision Blizzard's Overwatch League, players were paid a minimum base salary of $50,000 for its inaugural season. Players were also provided health care and retirement benefits.

    Related: How do Esports Teams Make Money?

  • How many people watch esports?

    According to Newzoo, 454 million people will watch esports in 2019, including both frequent and occasional viewers. This figure is expected to grow to 645 million by 2022.

    According to Superdata, more people watch gaming and esports than HBO, ESPN, Netflix and Hulu -- combined.

    Related: Esports vs Sports Viewership

  • Why is esports a sport?

    Some argue that esports are not considered sports, claiming that gaming does not take the same level of physical exertion as traditional sports like basketball or soccer. However, the Oxford English dictionary definition of a sport is as follows: “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”

    While the degree of physical exertion may be limited relative to certain sports, it is potentially on par with recognized Olympic sports such as golf or table tennis. Esports certainly qualify in terms of meeting the criteria as both competition and entertainment.

    Esports will be featured as a medal sport at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines.

  • How do esports organizations (i.e. teams) make money?

    Esports teams derive revenue from a combination of sponsorships, tournament prize winnings, selling merchandise, and league revenue sharing deals (i.e. ticket sales, broadcasting rights).

    Organizations can also generate revenue by selling advertising on popular player streams.

    Related: How do Esports Teams Make Money?

  • What are the top esports games?

    Popular professional esports titles include Dota 2, Hearthstone, Fortnite, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, PlayersUnkown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), Rocket League, Tekken, Super Smash Bros, FIFA, NBA 2K, Apex Legends, Starcraft II, and more.

    Certain titles are popular from a game streaming standpoint, yet are considered traditional esports. These titles include: Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, and World of Warcraft.

    Related: Battle Royale: Fad or Future?

  • How much is the esports industry worth?

    Our definition of esports, which includes live video game streaming, makes estimates difficult. Furthermore, traditional esports revenue can be problematic to identify. For example, how do we quantify in-game sales that take place a result of watching esports.

    However, several estimates suggest the esports industry is currently a $1 billion market, growing at a double digit rate.

  • How popular are esports?

    Esports are increasing in popularity each year. For example, viewership on the popular US-based streaming platform Twitch grew 58% in 2018. The total number of esports viewers is growing 13% per year, while the gaming industry as a whole is growing roughly 9%

    From a geographic standpoint, esports are by far and away the most popular in the Asia Pacific region, followed by Europe and then North America.

  • What is an esports team?

    An esports team is a roster of professional gamers that compete in tournaments and leagues for a given game title.

    Related: How do Esports Teams Make Money?

  • What is an esports organization?

    An esports organization typically consists of several teams that compete in tournaments and leagues across a variety of games. In many cases, esports organizations may sign popular game streamers to their organization who may or may not compete professionally.

  • What is video game live streaming?

    Unlike traditional sports, esports -- including both high-level competitive tournaments and casual gameplay -- are consumed online. Broadcasters and streamers allow for viewers to watch their content in real-time on platforms like Twitch. These content creators are typically referred to as streamers.

  • How do livestreaming platforms make money?

    Livestreaming platforms earn revenues from a combination of advertising, subscriptions and donations. In terms of subscriptions, users pay a recurring fee to access a premium version of the base service, including increased functionality and fewer ads. For donations, viewers frequently opt to donate to their favorite streamers -- in hopes they will get a “shoutout” on the broadcast. The livestreaming platform will typically take a percentage of top line donations for themselves.

  • What is cloud gaming?

    We are in the early stages of cloud gaming development from a technological feasibility standpoint. Cloud gaming, or gaming on-demand, is a form of online gaming that delivers games to your device(s) in a similar way to how Netflix delivers video.

  • What is E-gaming / Egaming?

    We don’t know, but let us know when you find out. ;)