Professional gaming, also known as esports (or eSports/e-sports) refers to a rapidly growing industry of competitive gaming.

In tournaments and events around the world, players compete in a variety of games, often for prize money, or other rewards.

The games which dominate esports at the moment are Starcraft II, League of Legends, and Dota 2. However, Hearthstone, Counterstrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Call of Duty, Super Smash Brothers and a variety of other FPS and Fighting Games are also played as esports.

Some are one person versus another (SC II, Hearthstone), while others are team games (LoL, Dota 2, CS:GO). The only requirement is that the game is competitive, someone has to win the game and progress through the tournament.

[Although speed-Minecraft graded like gymnastics would be really cool to see. Just saying]

How do they make their money?

When I tell people about esports for the first time, this is the first thing they usually ask me.

Quite simply it works like any other sport: sponsorship.

Most players are members of a team, such as Evil Geniuses, Alliance, Na’Vi or Axiom to name a few. This includes players who compete in 1v1 games.

By being part of a team, it is easy for a player to get sponsorship. These sponsors are usually energy drinks and computer parts companies. These logos adorn their jersies, and are featured when they stream.

Streaming is actually the biggest way (I am led to believe) players receive their sponsorships. Players can earn money by live-streaming their practice, or simply having their own live-streamed show, and having their sponsors logos featured on screen. Donations from fans also form an important role.

But it’s still just fat nerds playing games right?

Yeah, and Ballet is just people prancing around in a silly skirt. If you are committed to training incredibly hard for something you are passionate about, it doesn’t matter what that is.

My pet peeve is when people say esports is “just like a real sport”. It’s not like a real sport, it is a real sport, and as fans and members of the esports community, we should never hesitate in saying that.

You don’t have to agree with me that professional gaming is a real sport. Just know that everyone in the esports community is working hard to allow people to continue to make a living from what they enjoy doing. In the end, that’s all that really matters.